April 14, 2005

Test Spin: The Robot Ate Me

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Maybe I’m on glue, but listening to this two-disc album was like some odd foray into the land of alternate realities. On one hand, we have On Vacation disc one, a roll-your-eyes worthy compilation of indie pretension. Songs with titles like “The Genocide Ball” or “Crispy Christian Tea Time” pepper the entire disc to reiterate a deliberately subtle brand of historical irony and retro chic echoed by the actual music itself. Scratchy ballroom music from yesteryear accompanies singer Ryland Bouchard’s lifelessly whiny delivery of inane lyrics meant to be invoke serious contemplation.

Disc two, however, seemed completely different! Gone were the awful results of trying-too-hard syndrome that had afflicted disc one. Even Bouchard’s melancholy vocals no longer bothered me. The music’s sudden resuscitation was primarily due to an infusion of well-conceived percussion mixed with guitar and violin. The mellow beats were perfect for The Robot Ate Me’s whimsical musings on “Apricot Tea” or “Watermellon Sugar.” So if there is a way to surgically remove disc one from disc two, I’d highly recommend it.

Archived article by Tracy Zhang
Arts and Entertainment Editor