Label: Fire Records Release date: 22/11/10 Link: Wikipedia Buy: Amazon Rise Up!, Bobby Conn’s seminal 1998 sophomore will always be one of those albums that people ‘discover’. There’s not enough about it to make it huge, but there’s always enough there to make it personally rewarding, and enough to make you want to share it. That something as cool as this could come out of a year where the biggest drama was Geri leaving The Spice Girls makes it kinda special. It’s got that cool air around it – it rips bits off of Bowie, Lou Reed and even Sabbath, but it’s that borderline influence/stealing that makes it so good. Conn lets you know exactly where his influences came from because he wants you to hear them. All through the album there are bits that will be lauded by some and laughed at when those people tell their friends. It is easily derided by the cynic – it’s derivative, it’s pretentious, it’s cheesy but it’s also fucking good if you can be naive enough to listen to it without criticism. The references to other artists as detailed above can sound forced or plagiarised, the synth is from the 80’s and unashamedly so, the music isn’t that great – it stays in time but not a lot else, the copious strings are boring and cliché and Conn’s voice itself can be really crappy pseudo Springsteen at times, such as in title track Rise Up! but it’s all of it together that makes this good. I don’t know, maybe I’m repeating myself, but I love it because I shouldn’t. Every element about it makes it boring or samey or a rip off or faulty in some way or another, but put it all together and you get a nice album that just puts you off guard with its confidence. I think that’s what it is, it is so easily derided, but you just don’t want to. It’s got no defence, but that doesn’t matter if you can take it on face value – this is an album that takes the 70s and 80s and mashes them together in to something that should be horrible but isn’t. Mashing The The and Scritti Politti together like he does in Axis 67 shouldn’t work, and in truth, it doesn’t, but it sounds fun anyway. It's just a fun album. Photobucket