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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Empire State Human
Pop Robot
Ninthwave Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I started listening to Pop Robot for the first time at seven in the morning on a plane ride, a bit unhappy to be returning to cold temperatures. I put the CD in my portable and pressed play. The hard-driving synthpop of "Hand on the Gun" caught me off guard so early in the morning, especially since I had woken up at 5:02 AM and was still exhausted. After 53 seconds of the first song, I quickly removed Pop Robot from the player, unable to handle that techno-sounding beast and lady (I thought) singing who reminded me too much of Chris Tucker from the film Fifth Element. As I turned it off, my CD player flashed 22 75:28. An hour and fifteen minutes and 28 seconds of this? I had no idea when I would ever be in the mood to listen to twenty-two straight songs by Ruby Rhod. But I knew I had to, and I did.

To forewarn you, for the most part, this kind of synth-pop is not usually my thing. Sometimes I'll like something, if it's really good, but mostly, I won't. And if something is mediocre synthpop, I'm telling you now, I will hate it.

The band is known well on the synth scene to be very derivative of Kraftwerk and also as heavily influenced by the Pet Shop Boys. This album can attest to that. The whole thing, especially "Pop Robot" for similarity to Kraftwerk and "Paralysed" for similarity to the Pet Shop Boys. And I swear, the opening of "I Work For the Government" sounds exactly like Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance," sans the dancing little people.

The album consists of 21 tracks, 7 of which are "extra tracks" from Empire State Human's debut, Martian Anthems. The vocals are really what ruins Pop Robot for me. It wouldn't be a bad release without them. The vocalist seriously does sound like the guy from the Fifth Element. Which isn't bad, if it's a joke, which I'm not sure that this is. If you like synthpop that is derivative of both Kraftwerk and the Pet Shop Boys, then you would love this.

Reviewed by Jeanette Samyn
A contributing writer for LAS and a former music director WBAR at Barnard College.

See other reviews by Jeanette Samyn

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