REVIEW: The Robot Ate Me: They Ate Themselves
The Robot Ate Me: They Ate Themselves [Swim Slowly, 2003] (mp3s)
Three words? Strange surprise success!
The 90s brought us lofi - proof positive that kids in their bedrooms could record music as vital and refreshing as the best of the majors. With the 00s, something new has become clear - ProTools makes every studio Abbey Road, and suddenly the indie kids can not only record good music: they can make it sound as good as their major label counterparts. The Robot Ate Me is the missing link between Lou Barlow and the Flaming Lips, and They Ate Themselves is a dusty, confident debut; psychpop with violin, accordion, harmonica and saw. Despite their unfortunate name, The Robot Ate Me demonstrate equal flair for schizoid Elephant 6 jams ("Sugar & My Rotted Teeth") and poignant Sparklehorse lovesongs ("You Smile"). Flashes of Okkervil River and Neutral Milk Hotel appear on "Everyone Was Still," while Ryland Bouchard channels The Eels' E on "You Died." There are influences are too many to number, and ultimately there is a scrapbook feel to these seventeen songs... but the record is far too much fun - and too colourful an adventure - to let that overwhelm things.