Review:'Rotifer, Robert' 'Holding Hands in Petropolis'
- Label: 'Gare Du Nord Records/Bandcamp'
- Genre: 'Indie'
- Release Date: '15.9.23.'- Catalogue No: 'GDNLP071'
Holding Hands In Petropolis is the latest album by Robert rotifer who is also in Papernut Cambridge and Swansea Sound as well as playing in Louis Phillippe and The Night Mail as well as his day job as a busy Journalist broadcaster in his native German language and helping to run Gare du Nord records that he is the co-founder of. Robert has lived in the UK since the late 1990's having moved from his native Austria.
The album opens with He's Not Ill a gentle evocative song that has a dark heart, being inspired by the letter Jean Luc Godard sent to his lawyers to be published after his death, explaining why he was choosing to give up and die in a Swiss clinic, totally exhausted by what life has been throwing at him, also partially inspired by the double suicide of Lotte and Stefan Zweig holding hands as they die of a barbiturate overdose in Petropolis in Brazil during world war II, as they could see no likely positive outcome. As stark as this sounds the song still feels uplifting as you ponder on what might cause you to lose all hope.
That Was The Time reminisces on what it was like growing up in the 1980's, how we failed to stop the madness that the world has now descended into, with help from Helen McCookerybook and Fay Hallam this has a very gentle longing to it, hoping things had turned out better than they have.
Those Dreams Again re-lives the nightmares that were common through the pandemic, of what would happen if everyone was wiped out, what if normal life never returned, how can you even go to sleep, as the dark cadences of the gently evocative folk rock highlight the state of cognitive dissonance that seeped into everyday life.
Chewing On The Bones Of The Sacred Cow is about the endless regurgitation of the same myths of the 1960's so much so that they've lost all meaning. This is looking backwards while wondering if all the navel gazing has been a bad thing, as we've been unable to move forward to find a better path.
Red, Yellow Orange And Green features a cameo from Amelia of all the bands Fletcher, on this sweet love duet for spending time supping at the tree of knowledge as they seek some clarity.
Change is In the air, if only it was guaranteed to be positive, we can only hope as the choral backing singers of Amelia, Helen and Kenji Kitahama and Ian Button make the hope for real positive change feel more possible.
Man In Sandwich Board takes place in a time travelling lift in John Lewis on Oxford Street as he tries to explain what was coming down the track to the 1980's shoppers, the insanity of what was to come, like those 1970's Labour party leaflets that set my dad, the labour candidate into apoplectic rage, at the idea they wanted to put sleeping policeman all over London and control the speed by cameras with a 20 mph limit, that seemed way beyond the pale even to me as a little kid reading them, yet somehow most of it came true, so railing against the impending climate disaster of course he would have been ignored for trying to get us to change course.
Slipped In The Rain brings back painful memories for me, of doing just that and breaking my shoulder, as Robert narrates his own fall in the rain with how it was so unexpected, changing everything so quickly. Luckily for Robert his falls didn't result in broken bones or the need for three operations to repair the damage of that fall. But it will bring back sad memories for many of us at the conclusion of this darkly thoughtful album.
Find out more at https://robertrotifer.bandcamp.com/album/holding-hands-in-petropolis https://www.robertrotifer.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/robertrotifermusic