PopMatters home | short takes home | archives

PopMatters Music Short Takes
our brief reviews of new releases

e-mail print comment

01 October 2003

The Robot Ate Me, They Ate Themselves (Swim Slowly)
San Diego's the Robot Ate Me are an odd bunch. Or rather, they make odd music. The instrumental list employed by the band is a testament to this: guitars, accordions, saxophones, horns, violins, pianos, organs, toy pianos, power tools, harmonicas, old analog synths, imported Chinese instruments; alright, you get the picture. Their debut album, They Ate Themselves, isn't an entirely successful affair, partially because at times it seems as if being "weird" takes precedence over the music. The album is frustrating because when the Robot Ate Me are good, they are very good, and when they are bad they are just dreadful. Songs like "A Harp (And How You Cut My Strings)" and "Everyone Was Still" show that there is definitely some musical prowess at work here. However, for every good cut, there is a track like "Tied To A Car", which is a minute-and-a-half of complete drivel and pseudo-intellectual nonsense. It doesn't help that lead singer Ryland Bouchard has the most grating indie rock whine that I have heard in years. If the Robot Ate Me can get over their self-conscious lo-fi art rock and just write some better tunes they could turn into something worthwhile, but for now they are just another indie-rock band with pretentious lyrics.
      — Michael Beaumont

.: posted by Editor 1:28 PM