Monument to the Masses
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2006, Volume 13, #9
Written by John Metzger
On its latest endeavor Monument to the Masses, Ima Robot returns to the mishmash of punk, glam, new wave, and hip-hop that came together rather uncomfortably on its self-titled debut. Flawed as the effort was, however, the bandís exuberance helped it to keep the albumís quirky qualities interesting. Although Monument to the Masses also isnít perfect, it does feature a batch of material that is more fully realized. Much like on its debut, Ima Robot merges themes of post-adolescent angst, alienation, and disillusionment with images of death and war, but its lyrics, particularly on Cool Cool Universe and Stick it to the Man ó two of the best songs on the outing ó have grown more sharply focused. Most important, front man Alex Ebertís vocals are far less irritating. True, he still sounds as if he is channeling David Bowie (Pouring Pain), Rushís Geddy Lee (Eskimo Ride), and Missing Personsí Dale Bozzio (Disconnect), but at least he has restrained his tendency toward shrill shrieking. Behind him, his newly reformulated group propels the infectious melodies with hyperactive grooves that effortlessly swerve across terrain that previously was traversed by everyone from Devo to Midnight Oil. Itís only on the Mott the Hoople-style Lovers in Captivity and the twinkling piano ballad Chip Off the Old Block, which crosses Coldplay with Queen, that the outfit pauses to catch its breath. Granted, Ima Robot continues to adhere too closely to the templates crafted by its influences, and save for a few moments during which the undercurrents of hip-hop rise to the surface, its music remains deeply rooted in the early í80s. Nevertheless, its evolution is apparent, and the weird, amalgamated textures that it employs are as strangely captivating as ever.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box