Memphis, TN act, Robots! Attack! are killing it with their self-titled debut Robots! Attack!. Their current lineup is guitarist and singer Chonk, drummer Creed Edgar, bassist Paul Reames and soloist Pete Ferrandi. Fusing alternative rock with indie, emo and ‘90s DIY aesthetics, the album contains seven tasty songs that are very much in the spirit of rock n’ roll. The band says that they’ve been compared to Fugazi, Meat Puppets, Foo Fighters and Sunny Day Real Estate.
The five-and-a-half minute “Tangled” is the first song on Robots! Attack!. I was pleased to hear such a vibrant opener to a first-time effort. Maybe it’s me, but something about those opening guitar chords is like if “Vitamin R (Leading Us Along)” by Chevelle was less post-grunge and more emo. I have a feeling this would be one of their Sunny Day Real Estate-inspired tracks. Drums that sound like cupboards closing and silky bass lines are layered beneath dazzling harmonies. However, it’s the band’s good ear for dynamics, spellbinding solos and tight rhythms that make this one so great.
That’s not even the ultimate highlight of their debut. “It Ain’t Over” raises the tempo a notch and is relentlessly catchy. It’s surely a diatribe against U.S. government and pro-gun politicians, and while it’s not subtle at all, the message fits in with the punchy Foo Fighters-esque music. The album’s second five-and-a-half minute song, “Along for the Ride,” follows, and what this lacks in distinctive hooks, it makes up for with the group’s Midwest emo influences. It feels like a long, drawn-out jam session, and I appreciate it for that.
The release’s centerpiece, “Original Sin,” is even more like Midwest emo, with the lead guitar work and cupboard-slam drums reflecting that style. Additionally, the textured vocal harmonies and “Whoa-ohs” recall early Mae. “By Any Means” is also pretty strong in its own right, with dynamics and harmony playing a huge part in Robots! Attack!’s sound yet again. Also worth noting is that the very best guitar solo on the album happens on this cut! “The Truth Came Out” reverts back to a Foo Fighters-type structure, and Chonk’s chords as well as the scathing lyrics are some of its strongest traits.
Last of all, we have “Cognitive Imperative,” which was inspired by 2112 by Rush and samples dialogue from the classic sci-fi flick, The Day the Earth Stood Still. This roughly eight-minute epic is unlike anything else on the album. The drums are more inspired by classic rock than either punk or Midwest emo, and the electric guitars are not as earthy as before. Nevertheless, it is still absolutely worth your time if you’re a fan of sprawling progressive rock.
Robots! Attack! has a great thing going for them with this whole album. I don’t think there’s a single weak track on this debut, whatsoever, so for all those indie rock and emo lovers out there, this album’s for you. Strongly recommended.