Dublin-based singer-songwriter Robbie Stickland, f.k.a. Spongebob Eyelashes, is already a cult figure on the Dublin indie scene. Having received the seal of approval from Fontaines D.C. and Paddy Hanna via early support slots and with the release of his debut EP ‘Quit College, Worship Satan’ under his old moniker, Robbie has made the logical next step in recording this, his debut LP.
Robbie’s early work earned was favourably compared to Mac DeMarco for its oddball humour and relaxed melodies. We get more of the same here. The guitars are as jangly and the rhythms as ramshackle as DeMarco’s, and Robbie’s slightly nasal vocal cadence fits the slacker-pop mould. But there’s more to ‘Warm Jeans In The Morning’ than mimicry.
The album opens with a misleading sonic buzz that gives way to gently strummed acoustic guitar and Robbie’s lackadaisical croon on the title track. The song reveals itself to be a metaphorical pat on the back for completing a seemingly menial task on a day where staying in bed seems all too tempting. Much of ‘Warm Jeans In The Morning’ is written from this mind-frame. Lizard is an inward gaze at body issues and self-care. Robbie’s vocal glides over interlocking guitar lines, eventually reaching a place of self-acceptance and encouragement in the repetition of the words “I love you” ad infinitum over the top of the song’s outro.
There’s a relatable self-deprecation to Robbie’s shtick, too, be it on the ode to rumination on Busy Being Dumb or the up-tempo call and response of the self-effacing Nosepicker, the backing vocals during the chorus of which only heighten the insecurity of the song’s narrator.
‘Warm Jeans In The Morning’ was self-produced and mostly self-recorded in a collaborative space in Crumlin. Though effort was made to build on the sound of his earlier EP, much of its charm is retained. There is a canny, lo-fi sound quality throughout. Each song is built upon rich guitars, thoughtful lyrics and slightly off-kilter arrangement. As an introduction to Robbie’s blend of bright-eyed indie pop, this is a fine effort.