TOO YOUNG TO KNOW BETTER, TOO HARD TO CARE - The Giant Robots (Voodoo Rhythm)
Straddling the garage revival divide is a tricky proposition, even in the best of circumstances – because so many things can go wrong (such as band chemistry, production, or songwriting, to tick off three obvious factors).
Whether you're wearing go-go boots, or pounding on Vox organs, copping the relevant trademarks only gets you so far; in less creative hands, what sounded fresh and novel, say, 20-odd years ago, carries the aroma of “no new story to tell.”
This Swiss quartet does a decent job of working that line, but needs more edge to stand out among the traditionalist pack. Start by moving the ravin' likes of “Mauvaise Novelles,” or “The Striker” -- a brisk, surf instrumental tribute to bowling – into the opening slot, and punting the midtempo stuff back. (Young pups, take note: put up your strongest song first, since you may not get a second chance on everybody's CD player.)
Overall, it's the instrumentals that shine here: “Malaga Twist” serves up a nifty slice of Spanish-style guitar, just as the credits promise, and vocal-less aficionados will savor the guitar-organ duels on “Echoes From Canyon” (an Italian easy listening cover arranged by the Robots).
The nine vocal songs are a mixed bag; oddly, the standouts (“I Want To Share My Love With You,” “”Get Away”) share an effective, Bo Diddley-style stomping drumbeat. A similarly raw percussive approach drives “Tell Me What To Do,” which could shake jukeboxes in an alternative universe.
Across the board, all the '60s beat-isms that the Robots so ardently celebrate are present and correct, and their instrumental capabilities are obvious, but once I'd staked out my favorites, it's unlikely that this effort will keep sliding back into the player.
As the Robots’ release declaims, if you aren't dancing right off, you “definitely need some Viagra action up your butt”; actually, guys, I could use a bigger dose of personality than I’m hearing here. – Chairman Ralph
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