Saturday, February 11, 2012

REVIEW// Chocolate Robots: P i Z z A f A c E

     If there was ever a record cover to catch your eye, this would be it. Batman and ice-cream and a frog all make an appearance on Chocolate Robots' cover for their second album 'P i Z z A f A c E'. A Canadian outfit composed of Matt, Mutt and Marco Giresi, the album's ten tracks were recorded via their fathers old tube and tape equipment, left over from his time as a 70s Italian singer songwriter. As if this band's backstory could not get any better it seems the three brothers work in their parent's pizza shop! Its almost too good to be true, but fortunately the Chocolate Robots live up to every one of my great expectations, crafting a record carefree and brimming with a psychedelic surf-pop sensibility worthy of acclaim. An innately irresistible image is conjured up, of three men completely content. Satisfied with life, an evening sun seems to wash obsolete the mere idea of sadness. Heartbreak and a certain amount of nostalgic reminiscence are explored lyrically, but are never in yearning! Rather, the instrumentation and execution of such lends the album an equilibrium, looking back at the past but never aching to depart from the present. Chocolate Robots' ability to recall events absent languish or lust is what makes 'P i Z z A f A c E so utterly magnificent!
     An abstract daydream devised during long summer afternoons, the album opens with a fun and unabashedly immature number. 'Impossible Princess' runs through a few different sounds, the innately electronic playing off off-kilter drums and interludes of slow teenage melancholia. Vocal harmonies pop in and out amongst sprinklings of fairytale-inspired and smile-inducing sonic detail! It plays with an over-used lyrical theme, but Chocolate Robots manage to inject it with an eclectic and eccentric individuality, so much so it feels both new and yet spectacularly vintage. 'xxCross The Linexx's build from whimsical vocal quirks to a commanding and reverberated refrain-fuelled finish leads into 'Young Luff', a track similar to the opener in more ways than one. 'Funny Feeling's tangible Black Lips inspiration is a wonderful one, attenuated singing and a perfect chorus brushing a garage-rock sensibility with a light-hearted tone. The drum phrases and instrumentation are technically brilliant, a lone guitar bringing the song to a delightful conclusion. 'dumb angel's enigmatic musings make 'P i Z z A f A c E's halfway point an intriguing one, coaxing forth the second half well! A Barry Manilow influence seems to hide in amongst the verses too, which is phenomenal!
     The sixth track on the album is 'Cotton Candy', a wistful number brimming with thought out lyricism. It lacks the energy needed to jump out at you but acts as a comfortable delay instead. 'Soul Shoes' rocks along, subtle chiptune melodies hiding beneath whirring effect and interesting compilation. The backing vocals here are particularly compelling, thrown into the mix to produce a track more definitively experimental. 'Ratical Powers' reveals and uncovers an interesting combination of electronic vocal alteration, lo-fi groove and crystal clear singing. Believe me it works. Easy comparisons to the Black Lips number 'Mr. Driver' can be made, before the captivating builds and stunning lyricism of 'Purrfect Sound' take hold. 'Summer Krushhh' closes 'P i Z z A f A c E', and does so with absolute ease. I tip my hat to these three guys, because I've had a blast with the record. Every strained note. All the charming vocal lilts. A seaside sample and a foot-stamping hook feel so adequate as a conclusion it really is unbelievable! Unique and authentic and undeniably enjoyable, go ahead and stream 'Impossible Princess' below before purchasing the full album over here!