Under Review: My Robot Friend – Soft-Core

Sometime in 2008, a mysterious track appeared on the pages of Stereogum.  Credited to My Robot Friend, the song, “Robot High School,” was a slice of electronic genius.  Surely the promised Robot High School album would contain similarly excellent sounds.  The window of “album coming soon” came and went without any more indication of when the release would, in fact, be released.  Finally, My Robot Friend’s album, though not entitled Robot High School, has arrived to liberate us from human-generated music.  Soft-Core begins with that preview track, which holds up incredibly well and might even be the disc’s most solid track.  While the album is definitely the product of its creator, Howard Robot, many songs enlist the help of some cooperative meatbags.  Dean Wareham guests on two tracks (fitting since a remix of My Robot Friend’s cover of Luna’s “23 Minutes In Brussels” appears as a hidden track), and the legendary Alison Moyet drops by to provide her trademark husky vocals to “Waiting.”  Soft-Core’s finest moments, though, come from Robot himself.  The center couplet of “Failure” and “Boyfriend!” rivals “Robot High School” in terms of giddy electropop.  If there’s one thing that bogs down Soft-Core, it’s the overwhelming notion that these are really a few different album ideas all thrown together.  The solo Robot songs sound like they indeed could’ve been part of a Robot High School album, which makes the abundance of lesser-known guest performers a little less welcome.  Maybe Robot High School is to be Robot’s own SMiLE, where tracks from it are dispersed across other, less significant albums.  It’s not that Soft-Core is a total miss, it just doesn’t sound like the result that Robot originally had in mind.

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~ by E. on October 12, 2009.

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