Les Robots - The Fascinating World Of...

Les Robots - The Fascinating World Of...

The initial few EPs from Les Robots were immediately exciting: they were bar-none the best modern Joe Meek sound-alike that I'd heard. Thankfully, they didn't keep us waiting for long to hear a full-length, and I think it delivers on the promise of those EPs.

A big part of the reason I invoke Meek here is the prominent clavioline, a signature ingredient of the sound of The Tornados, The Moontrekkers and the like. That electric honk is so weird and strange, and yet very rare in later instro music. I have a hunch that the instrument itself is pretty rare.

But Les Robots are not a straight Meek mimic. They don't really make an attempt to capture that otherworldly recording quality, and the resulting record is pretty hi-fi and guitars are loud, proud and clear to an extent that Meek groups rarely go. "Big Trouble in Outer Space" for instance ends with a wild guitar frenzy, played in a bright, mostly un-effected tone. And there's a "chicken" styled song, so that's kind of all you need to know about whether guitar is a presence on this record.

Speaking of tone, "The Remote Control Stomp" feels like guitar and clavioline might be playing in lock-step transforming into one strange instrument. I also love the solos played by just two notes on the clavioline.

And that's really the thing that they nail here that honestly very few instro groups figure out: big ideas boiled down to simple result. That is often what's going on in so many of the surf classics. These are great songs with fun, easy-to-follow, easy-to-remember melodies and riffs, but there's a lot of subtle swirling noises that the back of your brain is picking up and enjoying while you bop to the beat. This group has the song-writing AND the gimmick down. It even looks like they're good !

The album is up for download on their . The has three noisy "soundscapes" inbetween tracks, though I'm paying a pretty hefty chunk of change on shipping costs getting it to the US.


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