With originality more challenging than re-interpreting or building upon the methods of old, many have made careers out of the past be it a successful cover band or an artist completely absorbed by the achievements of another. An example of the latter would be post-English Settlement XTC’s knack for molding late ’60s Beatles, Kinks and Beach Boys into some of the better music of the ’80s and ’90s. The third, least credible and chosen option by Robbers On High Street for Grand Animals is mimicry.This is their second run at imitation as their debut, Tree City was immersed in Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes. Spoon â€šÃ„Ã¬ Gimme Fiction more specifically â€šÃ„Ã¬ is the target here. One can’t fault their skill for getting it right. Ben Trokan’s voice is a doppelganger of Britt Daniel’s while the rest of the band seems to play songs passed over by the Austin, TX outfit.
The opener, “Across Your Knee” with its keyboard intro and canorous, mid-tempo saunter might cause listeners to double-check their purchase due its uncanny correlation to the aforementioned. The same is true for the majority of cuts, especially “Crown Victoria,” “The Fatalist” and “Married Young,” all having passable results. Then there’s the reflective anomaly “Your Phantom Walks the Hall,” a ballad tackling the fact that sometimes there’s just no getting over someone. In this sea of Spoon, here seems to be the lone island of Robbers On High Street.
In the end, this record could be a case of either too soon or too late for Robbers On High Street. If Spoon weren’t relevant and it were a decade in the future, Grand Animals might seem a decent look at the past. Instead, it feels more like a surfer-in-training trying to catch a wave that’s too close to the shore.