Robert Rotifer’s Not your door: a poet piece that demands your attention

24th June 2016

Title: Not Your Door

Label: Gare du Nord

There’s Robert and there’s Rotifer. The latter is a band lead by Robert but this album is just Robert plus friends. So, it’s not Rotifer but it is. The man…not the band. Accompanying Bob (Can I call you Bob? Oh…), accompanying Robert is Papernut Cambridge drummer, Ian Button, ex-Television Personalities bass man Mike Stone and Robert Halcrow from Picturebox on horn with Citizen Helene on backing vocals.

This is one of those albums. That is, it’s not really an album where you listen to the music while you’re baking bread, building a wall or tie-dying your trousers. This is a poet’s output held together with musical notes. Rotifer can sing, of course (he has a sort of Richard Ashcroft, nasal quality about him, in fact the track Our Only Entertainment is very Verve-like in its arrangement) but he is more a poet, of sorts. A man of the cobbles. That is, his words talk about life and experience and he delivers those words in an almost conversational manner that makes it pretty easy to digest. S,, if you insist on building a wall while listening to this album then you will, more than likely, lose a thumb.

A highlight of this poetic approach is the Vienna sequence of songs about growing up in that city including Top of the Escalator, a fascinating piece that, as the man himself said discusses, “1980s late-night encounters with blood-thirsty local skinhead gangs and the early 1990s outings to the hills around the town in a battered 1967 Beetle (An Autumn Day Like This).” Complete with the “mono speaker in the dash”: a nice lyrical and observational touch.

A charming and easy going LP, Not Your Door is like reading someone else’s diary and not feeling guilty about it.