Is There a Term for Mania in Robot Psychology?
Ima Robotâ€šÃ„Ã´s self-titled debut is a far cry from band members Alex Ebertâ€šÃ„Ã´s and Tim Andersonâ€šÃ„Ã´s rap project that bore the same name. Since then, Anderson has picked up a guitar, Oliver Goldstein has joined to contribute keyboards, and Justin Meldal-Johnsen and Joey Waronker, both former members of Beckâ€šÃ„Ã´s band, have added their respective talents on bass and drums. On Ima Robot, the band has unveiled itself in an extension of the current garage-rock revival with their new-wavy feel. Songs like â€šÃ„ÃºDynomiteâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºA Is For Actionâ€šÃ„Ã¹ rock as hard as their titles would suggest, whereas moments from â€šÃ„Ãº12=3â€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºHere Come The Bombsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ will make you swear itâ€šÃ„Ã´s Oingo Boingo.
If they truly are a robot, then they are powered by the perpetual motion machine that is Ebertâ€šÃ„Ã´s vocals – a manic string of frenetic notes over which Ebert seems to maintain only partial control. The lyrics seem to play into the madness, as â€šÃ„ÃºA Is For Actionâ€šÃ„Ã¹ heralds the end times, and â€šÃ„ÃºHere Come The Bombsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ tells you to purchase their album even as bombs are falling. Instrumentally, Ima Robot can hold your attention to a point, with the trio of rock-out tunes that open the album and the 80s-pop flavor that dominates the second half. However, it is Ebertâ€šÃ„Ã´s histrionic voice that makes you reach for Ima Robot, and without it, there is little else that makes the album worth remembering. Whether Ebertâ€šÃ„Ã´s singing taps into your nervous system, or you simply wish he would swallow a bottle of sedatives, you will either love or hate Ima Robot because of the pandemonium inspired by his ultra-hyper, unstable vocals.