Creature Automatic is Robbie Lee, and Outrun The Rain is his brand new album. The New York City songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist has traveled far and wide, racking up a brilliant list of credits along the way. This is his most ambitious recording to date.
Outrun the Rain showcases a confident vision, bringing together captivating sonics and lyrics while capturing a classic spirit: it sounds like a record. It’s piece of pure power-pop gold, jangly and effortlessly melodic, but also boldly experimental through and through. The hooks are instantly hummable, while at times mangled beats and urgent vocals disrupt the pristine pop-craft.
To make Outrun The Rain, Lee knew he needed some heavy hitters onboard, so he called upon truly legendary master producer Joe Blaney, the unstoppable rhythm section of Andy Macleod and Ryan Sawyer, and a cast of remarkable guests including Gotye, Matt Sweeney, Glasser, and Bill Frisell.
In the world of Creature Automatic, the power of ‘The Song’ is eternal, and Lee writes them as mini-movies that run from heartbreak to exuberance in three minutes flat. Equally important is ‘The Sound,’ where band and producer channel that expansive, timeless glow of studio recordings of the Golden Era of Album Recording. It’s adventurous and visionary, and also just a fun record in a sea of sameness. “Music has to be alive and vibrant,” says Lee. “It can’t be click-tracky autotuned into oblivion.”
Producer Joe Blaney’s credits include The Clash’s Combat Rock, Keith Richards’ Talk Is Cheap, Prince’s Lovesexy (and the Black Album), Tom Waits’ Bone Machine, The Beastie Boys’ License to Ill, The Raveonettes’ Pretty In Black, and White Magic’s Through the Sun Door, among a long list of etceterae. So, you know, it sounds better than good. It sounds “classic” in the best sense of the word.
Robbie Lee’s discography goes deep, from time spent playing both bass and saxophone with mystical scuzz-guitar god Neil Hagerty (of Royal Trux fame), to indie darlings Cass McCombs and Eleanor Friedberger, and onward still to wildly experimental collaborations with Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Mary Halvorson. Dig further still and you’ll find a diverse list, like Sub Pop rockers Love As Laughter -- with whom he frequently toured with Modest Mouse -- and renaissance minimalist Jozef Van Wissem’s collaboration with Japanese underground legend Keiji Haino.
As Lee puts it, he “did pop music backwards, learning music through jazz and the saxophone and piano, only later spreading out to all manner of noisemaking devices.” He soon became hotly in-demand, as the guy called on by singers and producers when their tracks needed some special magic. Lee will show up at a session with a medieval organ, baroque woodwinds, experimental synthesizer, and antique gut-strung banjo, knowing right away how to bring out the best from the sounds filling the air. For Creature Automatic he brings that same ear to his own music, creating a giant sound with big hooks from blazing telecasters, weird electronics, and an insanely great band.