Having left behind the excellent sounds of cult underground funk-soul group Two Spot Gobi, Brighton based songwriter James Robinson has re-emerged with new solo EP ‘Start a Fire’ – out now.

Comprising four tracks produced by Max Gilkes, this release repackages Robinson’s soulful vocal with acoustic backing, paring down the music to allow the voice to stand alone – and an impressive vocal it is too. A smooth/throaty mix that blends Ed Sheeran with James Morrison, it’s definitely one of the most compelling among the current singer-songwriter crop in the UK.

As for the songs, they’re a good range of tracks which nicely tease the potential of a full length album. Each track has something to recommend it, whether it’s the subtle energy of opener (and title track) ‘Start a Fire’, the thoughtful lyrics of ‘Demons’, the slow but satisfying strummed build of ‘Holes in the Sky’ or the lightly sketched feel of closer ‘Smoke and Ashes’. All these elements are brought together under that vocal, which ties it all together very nicely indeed.

A very strong showing indeed, and I look forward to hearing what James Robinson can do with full length album should the time come.

Review by Steve Boniface