Robots in Disguise - The Tears
Lewis Townsend 22/09/2008
Robots in Disguise are a reasonably odd band. Almost too odd. You know? Like they're trying too hard to be different. As we all know trying to be different is one of the biggest paradoxes ever, even bigger than the formidable Space-Time ones on Star Trek: The Next Generation. So the band [with their very AWESOME name, I might add; gosh it's cool to like Transformers, maybe they wear said t-shirts so that people can see that they are proud of who they are] are now on the third single, from their third album "We're in the Music Biz" which was released early this year. The album has some excellent song titles that really tap into contemporary student culture including "Don't Copy Me" and "Can't Stop Getting Wasted". But as we all know, repeatedly getting wasted is like, totally brilliant, so they're quite a thumb-up band [then again, the songs themselves could just be a huge satire, making me look quite the fool!].
The single at hand is "The Tears" and attempts to depict the drama and emotional difficulties paranoia can cause in relationships. It's a relatively catchy, epic-sounding tune, drenched in synth. These are the basic facts. The eerie reverb-drenched pianos in the intro are one of the good things here, sounding incredibly like "What Is The Light" by the Flaming Lips. Apart from that the lazy, almost discordant-sounding harmonies reminiscent of Joe Strummer's singing style, just don't sound that great. The electro-drums have that typical drive; the kind of groove that just has no groove because it's such a commonly used one. Lyrically, "The Tears' is minimal, a bit like that café "eat.": Lowercase and full-stopped. Why? Cause it's hip: "What's that number? Red light, panic, terror, ERROR!", Sue and Dee yelp during the pre-chorus.
As well as the original version there are a few remixes thrown in for those who do enjoy the band, including a more tolerable, and weird remix by Tim Burgess of the Charlatans that (as most remixes do) has a focus on percussion that makes the song more listenable; and a Kraftwerk/Animal Collective/Crystal Castles-esque butcher-up, its sheer choppiness sounds like quite the mindfuck. Finally "I Haunt Wizards" re-uses lyrics from the single, as a backdrop of club-dance synth and beats.
"The Tears" will be praised highly by tyrants like N.M.E but alas, it all seems a bit over-thought, yet at the same time, ridiculously simple.