Album Reviews

Robots In Disguise – We’re In The Music Biz

(President) UK release date: 4 February 2008

Short, sharp and to the point – that’s the Robots In Disguise, back with their third album to create more electro punk mayhem. They’re dressed for success too – with shirts and ties that on closer inspection are merely well applied body paint. Transparent pop music, then.

So what’s it like to be in the music biz? If you read the first four titles of the album you’ll think Dee Plume and Sue Denim are seasoned veterans of excess. We’re In The Music Biz, Can’t Stop Getting Wasted, The Sex Has Made Me Stupid and Animals. Sensing a theme? All four songs are delivered with raw, shouty energy, with riffs tripping over each other to be heard and the girls yelling – somehow coherently.

And then, suddenly, something changes. What by all accounts was turning into an enjoyable if derivative, surface level album acquires an unexpected depth. The girls’ inhibitions suddenly return with I Don’t Have A God, which kicks off with broad church organ chords before the musings begin. “I don’t have a god, I don’t have a church, it’s a messed-up world and I’ve got cravings” they sing. A groove beamed in from the early 1980s and an organ from one hundred years previous make strange bedfellows, but the pairing stands out as the most poignant message of the album.

This is completely at odds with the unhinged, out of breath The Sex Has Made Me Stupid, one of those songs where the catchy words win out at the expense of the tune. The Tears, meanwhile, shows how the punk sisters can apply a groove, lower register piano thumping out a distinctive bass.

Don’t Copy Me is the last track. And while the girls couldn’t be accused of directly plagiarizing in their electro-punk odyssey, there’s a big chunk of the 1980s running through their music. Even reminders of Shampoo come to the surface, but that’s coincidental – these two are savvier and know how to avoid Trouble.

They do a nice line in self deprecation, too, and the title track ends with them being booed off their own stage. The athletic vocals might jar now and then, but the humour wins through when they do.

So is We’re In The Music Biz distinctive enough? Over to you. It’s entertaining for sure, and just when you think it’s all surface, shows surprising depth and a streetwise attitude.

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