READ THE SEATTLE TIMES REVIEW BY PAUL DEBARROS HERE: Bakelite 78-What The Moon Has Done, by Paul De Barros, The Seattle Times
“The first thing that knocked me back was Robert Rial’s voice. He has the voice of an itinerant minstrel: solid, strong, down-home yet with a range and timbre applicable to a stunning variety of occasions. He sounds like a crooner fronting a ragtime band on “When it’s Darkness on the Delta” and conjures the ghost of the legendary Phil Ochs on “Brown Recluse Girl”… this isn’t a compliment I throw around lightly. (Do note that the woodwind work on this track does help invoke the spirit of the late Ochs.) In between Rial exhibits his deftness with whatever blues, jazz, country or folk is thrown at him.” –Jordan Bodewell – www.Sepiachord.com
“Reverent without being adoring… A distinctly American kind of groove…. mixed it up with a Tom Waits kind of eclectism and passion…. Very nice!” — WXRT – The Local Anesthetic
“It’s a Sin, a fantastic collection of old-timey music played in dedicatedly retro fashion” –Chicago Reader
“Combining elements of Vaudeville, country, and classic rock in a time when every other new band on the planet either cites the Rolling Stones or Joy Division as influences, Bakelite 78 is distinctive to say the least. Armed with the unique and stylized vocals of guitarist Robert Rial and a one-of-a-kind brass section, track for track this self-titled full-length is charming and infectious.” –Dean Ramos, Illinois Entertainer
“…Rial, in shiny gray tux, bow tie, burgundy cummerbund, silver shoes and towering top hat, has a voice that goes from sleepy-balladeer tenor to a neo-Tom Waits growl with the turn of a phrase. He can certainly belt it out — but he can be silky-voiced, too, as he lilts his way through musical fare that ranges from New Orleans-flavored ragtime to gypsy tunes to Depression-era classics (“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”). And there’s a gleefully macabre edge to some of his original tunes.
“I took her on the Ferris wheel/And out for her last meal,” he croons in “The World’s Fair Hotel,” a song inspired by Seattle author Erik Larson’s true-crime best-seller, “The Devil in the White City.” In another number, “What the Moon Has Done to Me” — about a werewolf haunted and confused by “bloody thoughts I can’t escape” — Rial’s poker-faced delivery adds to the fun. Rial is also a song archivist a la Ry Cooder or Thomas Lauderdale (of Pink Martini), digging up both well-known and obscure ditties from the early 20th century and lending them his own maverick touch…”
–Michael Upchurch – The Seattle Times August 16, 2010