UK artist Rob Marr’s new album Book of Man captivates with its melancholic simplicity. Named after his podcast, the 10-track achievement explores mental health, grief and nostalgic longing. His unique folk songs shine with piercing piano and haunting melodies. He looks at life through a unique lens making his work so enriching and profound.
Opening with the spellbinding “Perfectly Obvious”, the offering dives deep into his father’s mental health hardships. Showcasing static electric keys, acoustic guitar and exuberant drums, the tune exudes an eerie ambiance. After listening it is ‘perfectly obvious’ why you are easily drawn to the track.
“When I Was a Boy” is a wistful release that reflects on his grandfather’s time as a merchant seaman. He never knew his grandfather as he died before he was born. Finding his broken watch was the catalyst for learning more about his life. It is sung from his grandpa’s perspective and recounts the crossroads where he chose to trade his life at sea for a career in medicine.
The poignant piece "Death and Comfort" was written after his father passed away. Many that have dealt with loss have experienced that turning point where you come to embrace it. You accept that it was their time to go as hard as that realization is. This song beautifully conveys that need to persist in spite of pain. His deep, emotive vocals float atop minimal piano to create a truly mesmerizing and tender triumph.
The elegant collection was written, performed and recorded completely by himself. Each song was penned not only for the album, but also the podcast. His gripping podcast Book of Man has taken his obsession with writing insightful lyrics and developed it into a feature-length drama narrated by Golden Globe winner Josh O’Connor (The Crown). He says, “Each song takes a key moment in the story and explodes it, examines it in detail, providing an emotional counterpoint to the spare, understated narration. The whole album was inspired by my dad’s death, a way of grieving and coming to terms with his loss.”