Rob Mullins: Dance for the New World

Keyboardist Rob Mullins handles everything but the sax on his Dance for the New World (Zebra Records ZD 44006-2; 60:39)-and unfortunately gets caught in many of the typical traps that go along with synth music. Most notably (and somewhat irritatingly) present here is the over-programmed slap-track syndrome. It’s everywhere, pulling focus from some fine gospel-flavored melody work on “The Time Has Come,” and blaring out like an odd march cadence over the simple, uplifting melodic hook of “To Begin Again.” The biggest victim here is Mullins himself, whose capable piano work on songs like the album’s title track, is completely undone by the busy balance. Too much drama (like the weird spoken word intro to the title track) can be unhealthy for a simply executed melody.