It’s not quite the piano rock piano of last year’s Steely Dan comeback album but it’s more than a competent album that captures the same darkly romantic vein. Rony is at it again with dark piano and guitar licks interspersed with his signature smooth vocals. The overall album feels very light and loose throughout and is a joy to listen to. It’s a real high watermark in the genre though as there really isn’t anything else like it on the record right now.
I especially love the piano moments on ‘Waters Edge’. A more jazzy and soulful sounding album would befit of its title but instead here he trades in that dark piano sound for soaring brass and woodwind. The album closer, ‘Bridges’, showcases some of Rony’s finest piano work to date and captures a rare moment where he shows off his range playing. It’s also worth noting that on this album he plays mostly electric piano too (which is a bit surprising). It’s a remarkable showcase for a man that has stepped into the unknown.
The standout track on A Boy Is Born is called ‘Waters Edge’, which feels like it was written specifically for this album. It sounds like it was penned especially for this album and it’s a great opener. This song contains the more traditional sounding piano chords, but also includes a nice horn section backed by some strong winds. Other songs on this album that stand out are ‘Reelin’ in which he plays on top of his signature trumpet blaring sound, ‘Reelin’ (also with the trumpet) and ‘Halo Effect’ which are like a slowed-down version of Angels Cry.
His piano style on this album is much more classical than his previous albums. On the opener ‘Your Eternity’ he plays three different piano chords which vary in length and sound really well. He also plays a full scale-up of the piano. On the slower-paced ‘Tears In Heaven’, he plays the piano only at the end. On the album closer to ‘Red Baroque’, he switches to the electric piano and really gets into it!
Now it seems that Rob Pentatonic is going back to his roots as a musical artist. After playing on the album with pianos on Angel Voices, he has brought back the dark, moody tone he used to bring on ‘Sail To Yourself’. On this album, he uses a full band section with keyboards and drums. It really captures the feel of the album, just a little bit less of that ‘real band’ vibe. Although it doesn’t have the same feeling as the piano sound on the album.
Rob Pentatonic’s musical influences are varied. Some artists may have heard him play the piano and fell in love with the style, but others who aren’t as familiar with him might not be as familiar with these influences. One of my favorite songs from his solo album was played on the piano in the middle of the song ‘White Room’ on the White Room soundtrack. It is a slow-paced piano piece, played at the end of the track. The tempo of the song changes dramatically and it sounds amazing. I would definitely recommend this song if you haven’t heard it yet.
Then on the other end of the spectrum, we have Rob Canton playing the piano again in the incredible piano ballad ‘Water Music’. This is probably my favorite out of all of his piano songs. It is played in the first part of the song and builds to a powerful crescendo. It is incredibly melodic and extremely well written. The piano playing is fantastic and extremely graceful.
If anyone is looking for a great classic instrumental piano piece, then I highly recommend this album. If you are looking for a piano track to accompany a lyrical or dramatic piano song, then this is definitely the one for you. If you like modern-style music then this is definitely the album for you. Whatever your style is, you will definitely find something in this album to satisfy your needs.