The Robocop Kraus
They Think They Are The Robocop Kraus
Germany’s The Robocop Kraus are coming along at precisely the wrong time. They’ve got the direct sonic lineage to Talking Heads as well as the post-punk immediacy of Gang of Four down to a science. Unfortunately so do hundreds of other bands that got there first. It’s doubly troublesome because The Robocop Kraus do it so much better than the rest of the pack. In the hands of Swedish uber-producer Pelle Gunnderfedt, the band crafts a full-on assault with minimal instrumentation. Pulsing beats, electronic blips, angular guitar and fluid bass are nearly all that keeps this album afloat, but it still sounds as fleshed out as any of the DFA’s stable of dance-punk heroes. The group is even able to play with its formula, as on the math-rock quasi-reggae of “Too True to Be Good” (which incidentally lifts the “ah ya ya ya ya” chorus line from Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”) and the lonesome western beat haunting “Life Amazes Us Despite Our Miserable Future.”
The song titles alone should give you some clue what sort of subject matter is on the group’s mind. Rife with surrealistic, paranoid lyrics, the album is something you’d expect David Byrne to pen after a steady diet of Philip K. Dick and David Cronenberg. The disc’s opener “After Laughter Comes Tears” begins with the lines “When we see people we see people/ We see people who are not whole.” This theme is broadened to cover the media and the rest of the body politic over the course of the disc. It’s not completely hopeless but it certainly well on its way there. Even the anecdotal “Concerned, Your Secular Friends” has an air of mania in its tale of a friend traveling to Amsterdam and “finding” God in the debauchery.
While the limelight might have already passed this particular indie rock genre by, it by no means calls into question the quality of They Think They Are The Robocop Kraus. If nothing else, folks coming across this album now won’t be carrying the weight of maintaining their hipster cred and will be able to enjoy this disc all the more for it.
Epitaph Records: www.epitaph.com