Comforting and familiar – Bob M’s acoustic EP I Dream of You Tonight

When Bob Moston announced that he was going to ‘stick the Merrym’n costume in the loft’, I pondered what this would mean for our quintessentially Stokie songwriter. The talented local musician had made a moniker for himself writing love letters to the six towns, penning nostalgic musings of bygone eras when cable cars travelled above Festival Park, and proudly portraying Potteries dialect and phrases. If Merrym’n had been a meal, it’d be Oatcakes and a pint of Titanic. 

But two years after making the announcement in which he said the alias had given him ‘confidence as a writer and performer’ to be himself, Bob has finally released his debut EP, I Dream of You Tonight, under his own name – Bob M – and it’s every bit as familiar, comforting and nostalgic as you’d hope. Like a hot cup of tea on a crisp Autumn morning.

The EP awakens with an almost country twang in Hello Suburbia, a fitting introduction to Bob M’s reflective musings. The acoustic guitar gently strums, setting the tone as Bob welcomes you in out of the cold with his unmistakably recognisable vocals. “Hello Suburbia, goodnight” – they are friendly, warm and inviting, embracing listeners like an old friend as they paint a vivid picture of Staffordshire streets illuminated by street lamps, finding beauty and intrigue in the most mundane of places.

Bob said: “All five of these songs were first imagined when out walking on cold, dark winter’s evenings. The way the mind both wanders and wonders when out alone in the dark is reflected in these songs: the peace, the beauty, the anxiety, the loneliness, the memories, the surmising. I wanted to capture, in equal measure, the intrigue and the mundane of suburban life – being comfortable with your lot but also feeling trapped.

In Three Sheets To The Wind, Bob’s narrative lyrics conjure a visual feast of an evening in one of those pubs you likely wouldn’t find yourself in if you weren’t a regular. Bob’s optimism for attention to detail paired with an obsession with observation make for some rather unique lyrics, such as “the urinal tiles are a work of art”, but they are ones that make you crack a knowing smile as they stick in your mind. Next time you’re spending a penny in a Staffordshire pub, you’ll probably check out the tiles to see if they’re the ones he was so poetically describing.

Nick Barber

Bob M’s soothing vocals blend seamlessly with the acoustic melody, creating a wistful atmosphere that transports listeners to the very moments when these songs were first conceived – the ale warmer than the room practically within your reach as you sway along. I always enjoyed watching Bob perform live with his harmonica around his neck, and it’s been skilfully included in a number of tracks on the EP, adding texture and charm to these tuneful tracks.

The EP takes a darker turn with Tin Foil Hat – a track that encapsulates the paranoia and anxiety that can permeate suburban life, with disconcerting lyrics shrouded in anxiety reminding us of the ever-present tension between our desire for security and our fear of being controlled. Bob M’s songwriting prowess shines brightly here, making Tin Foil Hat a standout track on the EP, filled with melancholic undertones and rumbling bassy notes.

Injecting a dose of positivity into I Dream of You Tonight is Dog Town (It’s Alright), a track celebrating the simple joys and moments of connection that can be found even in the most unassuming of places. The acoustic guitar takes on a livelier tempo, and Bob Moston’s vocals exude warmth and comfort. This track encapsulates the duality of suburban life, where mundane routines coexist with moments of pure, unadulterated happiness.

Contemplative and haunting, the harmonica hums into Railway Tunnel, the final track on the DIY music makers EP, which has been entirely home-recorded and self-produced, written on an old acoustic guitar and brought to life in the pockets of time found free in the evenings when the kids have gone to bed. Bob’s poignant lyrics reflect on the passage of time, memories, and the inevitability of change, the acoustic guitar weaving in and out of each verse, inviting listeners to reflect on their own journeys through life.

I Dream Of You Tonight is a masterfully crafted acoustic EP that showcases Bob M’s talents as both a songwriter and a storyteller. Each track offers a glimpse into life’s quiet moments of introspection to its slivers of joy and connection, packaged with intimate charm and a sense of familiarity. Deeply personal, Bob’s lyrics often feel like a diary of late-night wanderings and quiet reflections, moulded into music that captures the essence of the everyday and transforms it into something extraordinary.

Released September 15, 2023, listen to I Dream of You Tonight by Bob M here: 

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