OpinionHated

The Hated Opinionated One

Robotanists Are Ready To Set New Assembly Standards

Posted by Scotio on October 11, 2008

I’ve never seen the movie Blood And Chocolate. I know, I know. But, I didn’t want to spend money on going to see it in the theaters. Then, it hasn’t come on a Premium Cable channel, yet. I mean, after the sadness that was The Covenant, I didn’t trust any movies which tried to gain promotion from the lovely occult series that is titled Underworld(a personal favorite of mine). I know you’re wondering what that has to do with anything. Well, it has everything to do with this review. See, the movie might be visually unknown to me, but I’ve heard the soundtrack. And, I will say that I was impressed by the covers that were featured on that album. One of the standout tracks from it was “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by the band known as Philistine. Well, Philistine never released an album. What they did was change their name to Robotanists(yeah, now you’re getting it). And, Robotanists have finally released their studio debut, Close Down The Woods. It’s an EP, but it’s enough to get the mouth wet with flavor.

Only seven (7) songs/almost thirty-seven (37) minutes long, it’s not something of grand proportions. But, it is filled with stuff that can tickle your fancy like you’re trying to get a Tickle Me Doll modeled after you. The opener track is “Wait A Minute Here.” This was the second song that I’ve heard from this act(first being the Joy Division cover). I’ve heard this song many months ago. Still, it brings such a strong longing sense that it’s hard to properly compare it to something else. The simplicity of it adds such an epic feeling to the song. You might ask how is such possible. It’s simple, really, the fact that it feels so bare bones is how it fuels the “just out of reach” sensation of the song that the lyrics bring. Vocally, Sarah(lead vocalist) is amazing. The first half of the song, it sounds like she’s singing in the shower with the water off. Alone. Thinking about the muse of the song. Either that, or inside of an empty building strolling the halls while you listen to her from the other end. I can’t tell you how many music video ideas I had swimming around in my head when I heard this song(and still do every time I hear it). Daniel(lead guitarist)’s finger work is nothing to downplay in the least bit. He’s not merely strumming an acoustic guitar, he’s plucking at you’re heart’s attention while Sarah holds your head in a submission maneuver. If you’re not captivated by this song, then I don’t know how you can ever claim to have been in love and possess a heart.

The next song is “Subtlety Is Underrated”. Now, I’ll admit, I was not expecting this as a follow-up after the majesty that is “Wait A Minute Here.” It’s not like it’s bad. No, it’s not. It’s just completely unexpected. The band seem to call on their inner Beatles meets Beach Boys. The song harbors all the same sense of bliss and joy with lyrics that run deeper than it’s easily accessible pop soundscape leaves you to believe as the aforementioned bands. Again, on this song, Sarah’s voice soars. She could have played it safe and merely sang in cadence over the beat, but what would that have done? Nothing but made it another cheesy pop tune. Her timeless voice is the venom that takes you under after you’ve let your guard down from the music underneath it. She sings from a place that isn’t just lost in most singers of today, it’s become completely uncharted and only the brave dare to venture there. Granted, it’s good, but I would have liked to have a full LP so that it could have a better bridge that closes the gap between Tracks 1 & 2.

Following that is the title track of this release “Close Down The Woods.” This song contains more jazz than any other. It sounds like something that you’d end up listening to in the car of your older uncle that thinks he’s still too cool, but sometimes he does offer a speck of coolness from time to time. Though you’d never tell him that, you do acknowledge that to yourself. This would be one of those moments if he pulled this song out. It’s mellow, soothing, smooth, and melodic. Again, they go back to a more minimal approach, and again it works. Robotanists use Sarah’s special weapon(her voice) in every amazing way imaginable. It becomes it’s own instrument at one part of the song. Where other vocalists would just move on through or over the music, she moves with it . . . sometimes propelling it. When the bridge at the end comes in, it’s beyond breathtaking how she has a few different layers of her voice going off at once and they never clash. It all goes together like finely tuned instruments in the San Francisco Symphony. But, all the glory isn’t Sarah’s alone, the music the band provides makes her voice that much more intoxicating . . . that much more alluring . . . and that much more enticing.

Switching gears, again, the band moves into the song “Slow Motion.” No, there isn’t anything slow about this. They mix up the feeling of Six Pence None The Richer and The Cranberries to create a much more rich and flavoring offering on this song. It would be a shame to group this band with another Teen Movie, be it gothic or outright romance. But, truth be told, this does sound like it would be the lead single of a new romantic movie. Young lovers, if you want to find that perfect song to cap off your date with and pretty much seal the deal . . . this is it. This is the song you play. The band pulls out more soundscape for this one. Preston(drummer) shows us what he’s been hiding almost for the whole disc. His timing is perfect. His tempo is excellent. His execution is one for the books, here. It’s not like there’s something new or inventive that he’s doing with his drumset. It’s that it provides the perfect backbone for the whole song. That’s what is needed of the drummer for most times. And, that is what Mr. Phillips does. Yes, Sarah is mesmerizing, here. But, that’s nothing new. Not to downplay her at all. She leaps to heights that you don’t hear female vocalists aim in either Indie Rock or even R&B much in today’s music.

On “Tasteless,” Daniel, Preston & Keith(bassist) set the tone for what appears to be a missing James Bond theme song. Primarily with Daniel showing off all the tricks of the guitar trade that he was sure to have learned watching those movies. Any fans of the highly famous Agent 007 know that the theme songs are usually just as monumental as the movies they are theming. And the music of this track is big. Broadway big, baby. With such a high standard set by the band, you know that Ms. Sarah Ellquist has to match their magic. Matches it she does. To be fair and honest, I haven’t heard a female belt out such powerful blasts on a studio song since the mid-90’s. Yes, I know that some of the current artists can sing with such passion and intensity, but you rarely seem them performing such on their studio records. This band doesn’t play for the radio, they play for the love of the music. And, all music lovers should shun themselves if they read this article and don’t rush to this band immediately. The band also has a cover of Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” featured as a bonus track on their EP. Closing it in as the Seventh and final track. They, humorously title their version “I Don’t Want To Know What Love Is.” It’s a good cover. Is it as good as their Joy Division cover . . . hard to compare. I would say no, but Daniel’s brilliant guitar performance allows it to leap up a few notches.

This band is brilliant. This EP is awesome. Seriously, it is. The ONLY problem I have with it is the lack of tracks and length. I know, it’s an EP, but I’d really love for it to have been an LP. That way, I could hear them drift in their range from song to song. The EP properly demonstrates what this group is capable of. But, you get the feeling that they are holding back, like a boxer stunning you with his speed and has yet to show you the true power they have in their punch. With the fact that this EP hits you hard, that simile in the previous sentence speaks volumes. Trust me. It’s been a long time coming for this band’s studio debut. I’m sure it’s going to be a long time running for their musical career if they continue to move from this point forward.

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One Response to “Robotanists Are Ready To Set New Assembly Standards”

  1. […] Only seven (7) songs/almost thirty-seven (37) minutes long, it’s not something of grand proportions. But, it is filled with stuff that can tickle your fancy like you’re trying to get a Tickle Me Doll modeled after you. The opener track is “Wait A Minute Here.” This was the second song that I’ve heard from this act(first being the Joy Division cover). I’ve heard this song many months ago. Still, it brings such a strong longing sense that it’s hard to properly compare it to something else. The simplicity of it adds such an epic feeling to the song. You might ask how is such possible. It’s simple, really, the fact that it feels so bare bones is how it fuels the “just out of reach” sensation of the song that the lyrics bring. Vocally, Sarah(lead vocalist) is amazing. The first half of the song, it sounds like she’s singing in the shower with the water off. Alone. Thinking about the muse of the song. Either that, or inside of an empty building strolling the halls while you listen to her from the other end. I can’t tell you how many music video ideas I had swimming around in my head when I heard this song(and still do every time I hear it). Daniel(lead guitarist)’s finger work is nothing to downplay in the least bit. He’s not merely strumming an acoustic guitar, he’s plucking at you’re heart’s attention while Sarah holds your head in a submission maneuver. If you’re not captivated by this song, then I don’t know how you can ever claim to have been in love and possess a heart. – Opinionhated […]

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