Robots In Disguise - Get RID!
Bill Cummings 25/07/2006
You might recognise Sue Denim and Dee Plume (or to give them their stage name, Robots in Disguise) from their roles in The Mighty Boosh's first series' new romantic episode. They have actually been toiling away as Robots in Disguise for a few years now, essentially a two-headed, electro pop-punk-funk machine being infused with the spirit of Gainsbourg, The Sneaker Pimps and Chicks On Speed. I was really taken with their sultry beat box effort 'Bedscenes' from the recent Dog Box compilation, 'Blue Skies Up'; it has the spice of early Madonnna matched to glitchy, dettached Ladytron beats - it was something inventive, sassy and playful from an electro-indie genre that often takes it self too seriously. So it was with anticipation that I approached this record, and it started so promisingly. Last single 'Turn It Up' is a joy: electrogasmic if you will, double-barrel female vocals bristle with nods to Bowie, the Pistols and The Smiths. ("In Hatful of Hollow I'm screaming screaming") over a throbbing distorted beat, before gyrating into quite an insistant chorus, it's like having your clothes torn off and the radio turned up to 11. 'DJ's Got A Gun' is a fine disco-funk song too, vocoder vocals, '70s disco guitars, and seductive vocals: its like Shampoo grinding up against Kraftwerk on some sweaty dancefloor, this track is made for a DJ set.
So far so promising, but unfortunately the other three thirds of this record are patchy. There's an awful cover of the Kinks' 'Girl' (did we really need another cover of this song!?), their previous single "Hot Gossip" that's too musically slight and lyrically trite to ever be memorable ("I'm hot gossip/I'm on your lips"), and the squealing repetitive drum machine bore of 'She's a Colour Scientist'. There's also a handful of dance remixes at the end of this record that all blend into one techno mulch and should be put under the banner "a tawdry mess of yelpy disco" as each lacks the coherence or lyrics neccessary to work as a proper whole. There's a sense of this album tailing off dramatically, sadly most of this is far from the crafty electro clash of their best work, thus 'Get Rid' leaves you with a disappointing impression of Robots in Disguise as some kind of second-hand Le Tigre, or a Topshop Goldfrapp: an irritatingly scenster-ish pastiche of the '80s best electro acts.