The Phantom Tollbooth
 August 1999 Pick of the Month
Artist:  The World Inside
Label:  Organic Records
Time:  10 Tracks/67:26

Since the breakup of Poor Old Lu three years ago, fans have eagerly anticipated its members's next musical steps.  Aaron Sprinkle formed Rose Blossom Punch in 1997, and now his brother Jesse has reappeared under the moniker The World Inside to bring us Roobrik.

The World Inside doesn't share much with Poor Old Lu, aside from two members--Jesse (acoustic guitars, vocals, drums and percussion) and Aaron Sprinkle (electric guitar, bass, keyed instruments).  Musically, the band drifts away from the retro-tinged alternative played by POL, and explores more folkie territory.  Most of the songs are entirely acoustic - comprising only Sprinkle's  acoustic guitar and Phil Peterson's cello. Roobrik is what Jars of Clay could release if they worked harder.

The lyrics are meaty poetry. Sprinkle's writing is stronger than that of POL's Scott Hunter.  Lyrics are not included in the sleeve, but Sprinkle's voice is clear enough that you'll be able to understand what he's saying without too much effort. His voice is also considerably better than Hunter's, again, in the Jars of Clay vein.

Roobrik is truly a treasure.  Jesse Sprinkle has never made a better decision than to step out from behind his drum kit and front a band.

Michial Farmer (7/31/99)