Like a well-worn paperback novel found in some backstreet bookshop, crumpled and dog eared from reading, The Corridors of Love has hidden stories to tell. Indeed, Robert John Ardiff’s sophomore offering is built from experiences, tales, and perspectives put through his own prism.
Opening with the swaying bombast of ‘Black Dog’, The Corridors of Love begins its story with a sense of turbulence and weight. From the inviting intro to the brass-filled choruses, the song is a journey in and of itself. This vignette feel flows right through the album as the sizzling slow-burn of ‘Hare Upon The Wind’ comes into focuses and suddenly contorts into the urgent pulse of ‘The Face’.
From this anthological framework, Ardiff works with emotionally led themes. Lyrics like “the depths of your despair are just a drop in the ocean that you cross” found on the glistening ‘The Lion’s Share’ convey the ever-forward motion of life itself as it wraps around experience and expectation. While the delicate ‘Miles Away’ twists with lines like “the little lies, the bitter pill, the borrowed time” delivered with pained introspection. Place this around songs like the aforementioned ‘Lion’s Share’ and ‘Public Taxes’, which reference the city around us, and The Corridors of Love adds to an already intimate story.
However, it’s ‘Break Upon The Waves’ that cuts most deeply. Moving from stark exposed passages that shudder with fragility, the track moves into dynamically charged turns that rumble with fury and defiance in the blink of an eye. The album’s zenith and Ardiff’s most potent songwriting piece encapsulates its parent album’s overarching journey.
And so it goes, Robert John Ardiff’s The Corridors of Love is an album that feels lived in. Wrestling with the personal past, present, and future, Ardiff distils the stories around him to share an experience where we must move forward, together or apart. And as one well-worn paperback on my shelf says, “so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”.