Sheen is all well and good, but when it comes to heartfelt guitar pop, sometimes the fuzzier and scuzzier the better…
Such is the case for Manchester’s RoBoT//aLiEn, whose thrashy, synth-laden ditties just sound right with the fi nice and lo. After all, a studio polish would just detract from the charming sense of paranoia that pervades this EP release.
Opener ‘Forever Please?’ provides the perfect introduction to the Robot, aka Rob Allen (geddit?!), with its interplay of distorted chords and tinkling keys. Speaking out to a generation of disillusioned young adults, its chorus references retro childhood favourites “It’s like a life of claymation/I’m turning into Morph/opening up Trap Doors” and its pop sensibilities eventually give way to discordant fuzz guitars, seeing out the track with an outpour of frustration.
While essentially a straightforward pop song, the nostalgic feel and blissful melodies of ‘You Are Traffic’ provide the perfect antidote to anyone disillusioned with the genre’s ongoing bastardisation. The lyrical theme is continued, albeit over a more solid groove, as Allen questions whether “life is something I can’t plan“. Such control soon gives over to just under 2 minutes of bombastic stomping crunch however, as ‘Putdown, 2001!’ delivers on the opening track’s parting promise of raucousness.
The latter part of the EP explores the more psychedelic aspects of Allen’s sound. The synth-heavy ‘Poppy’ which instils a sense of foreboding through its off-kilter combination of sweet melancholic verses juxtaposed with choruses delivered part-monotone, part-harsh screams. Ultimately this is dissipated by closer ‘A Little Love’, which provides the clearest insight into the eclectic influences bearing on the record, equal parts 90s grunge pop and 60s guitar pop proper.
The 5 tracks on ‘Concealing the Lifting’ showcase RoBoT//aLiEn’s refreshing noise-pop songwriting and demonstrate why he has gained the attention of 6Music amongst others. With a little luck he’ll be breaking out of Manchester in no time.