Jive Talkin' Robots
First Appeared at The Music Box, December 1999, Volume 6, #12
Written by John Metzger
The Jive Talkin' Robots is a five-piece band from the Pacific Northwest that has garnered attention for its distinctive blend of acid jazz, fusion, and funk. Over the past year, the group has moved beyond its home base in Oregon, performing concerts along the entire West Coast. Over the course of the next year, it is planning to extend its reach even further with forays throughout the Midwest and along the Atlantic seaboard.
In 1998, Jive Talkin' Robots independently released its second album Superheroes — its first with saxophonist Joe Cunningham and bassist Tom Nunes. Several of the songs drift into funky, Phish-fueled rhythms that are rapidly become far too prevalent among groove rock bands. Selections like the opening Limpy and the country-rock Tragedy on Windsor Street tend to bog down the album under the weight of mediocre lyrics and familiar musical themes.
There's no question that the Jive Talkin' Robots is still struggling to find its voice, but it's clear that Nunes and Cunningham are helping the band to do just that. The group is at its best on songs like Meowb, Susan B. Strut, and Peter. On these tracks, the ensemble quite simply settles in for an instrumental journey and allows its individual talents and improvisational skills to take it along with its audience on a mind-bending ride. Jive Talkin' Robots has the ability to stretch out songs and succumb to the music, making for some interesting and adventurous exploration.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box