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Def Robot: I Always Thought I Was The Funny One – album review

Def RobotDef Robot

I Always Thought I Was The Funny One

Pearls For Swine Records

Available here

Louder Than War Bomb Rating 4

Def Robot return with their 12th album in two years and it’s a blast of a mixed up style of genres to prove there is still life in their endless tunes. Wayne Carey does the usual DR style track by track explanation with the enigmatic Paul Taylor straight outta Kendal…

Skintight.

“Explores the events surrounding the assassination of JFK including rumours and speculation about his private life – which may have contributed to his death.”

A spiky punk number that romps through Americana with some great riffs. A proper anthem that gets better with every listen. Fuckin’ great guitar solo towards the end.

On My Way.

“An atmospheric road trip on a foreign substance. On the way to somewhere unsure – home? A loved one? Death?”

This goes all film noir, an atmospheric moody number that chills the senses with it’s downtempo picturesque druggy swagger. Dark as fuck.

Mindspace.

“2021 feels like there’s just too much going on to take in. Sometimes I wanna just get away from everything, take a deep breath and relax!”

An early Floydesque intro that goes all Gary Numan on the ears. A futuristic rocker with a nice psych feel flowing throughout. Spacey!

Rise Of Robot.

“Mechanisation and advances in technology have been incredible for the human race. But is there a danger of it all going too far? Are we losing touch with nature and what we are?”

A proper dirty riff kicks off with this Nine Inch Nails sounding piece of industrial hip hop which shows the diverse range and talent of Taylor and Hancox’s songwriting.

Kiss The Disco.

“Even if you aren’t a fan of dancing or letting go on the dance floor, we all miss the kind of places we went to that held friends, merriment, socialising and dancing. A love song to one of the things we haven’t been able to do for a long time.”

A proper upbeat number that goes all Wonderstuff on us and cheers you right up! The lyrics are funny as fuck. “A thousand days without dancing, I’ll bust some moves” A proper party tune about the longing for hitting the clubs once more.

Consumers.

“A dig at the consumerist and capitalist world that we live in. There will always be part of the world that suffers in the face of this way of living.”

This reminds me of the scene from Human Traffic when John Simms is working the shop floor at a clothing store and they’re all serving like robots under a sweaty slathering pervert. Some great guitar and bass is the crux of this three minute catchy bastard.

Luxembourg.

“A song from David and written by his youthful band back in the day ‘Tim’. God knows what he’s on about. I’ll have to ask…”

Hancox does a mad minute of punk attitude that hits the target. Mad…

They Shoot Horses.

Based on the old film of the same name which covers the events of a dance marathon. Was first recorded with Kerosene. Recorded again from scratch for the ol robot.

They now enter Pixies territory on this stand out track. A proper grunge prototype tune that harks back to the Bossanova sound that we all know and love. Excellent.

Better Than Me.

“A tale of superiority in a friendship/partnership. Sarcastically commenting on the Alpha role but at the same time accepting and maybe even enjoying being the ‘weaker’ one.”

A proper rock stomper with an excellent riff that ramps it up big time. A really rocked up glam number that sounds fuckin’ top. Exciting and relevant with some great drumming in there and some top notch guitar skills.

End Of An Era.

“Instrumental electronic beat experiment, that may or may not become another song in future…”

Fuckin’ ell! They’ve gone trip hop now. There’s no end to the sounds these guys produce. A small step into electronica that works.

Place I Call Home.

“We’ve been going back to a few songs on the last 2 albums, re-recording and getting a fresh take on them. Here’s one that originally appeared on the album Play This When We’re Gone”

Guitar skills at the forefront from the start. A total rework as mentioned above. Cracking chorus and a tune full of ideas that just work. Another anthem that I can’t wait to see performed live. Tune.

On My Mind.

“A love tale of regret. An apology for going through a tough time and somewhat neglecting those that care for you. It’s not necessarily intentional. Just circumstance.”

Fuckin’ voilins? Oh yes. There’s no end to their talents. Paul Taylor turns into a hybrid of Nick Cave with a Worzel Gummidge head of Richard Hawley screwed in. Magic.

The Last Cuss.

“This was originally on the album You Will Not Be Discovered and was sung by David. We’ve completely re-recorded it with Chris Willcocks on drums and Paul on vocals.”

A stab at recreating Smashing Pumpkins at their prime without the whining voice of Billy Corgan. A proper nod back to nineties intelligent grunge that has smatters of Black Francis running throughout. A great track that resonates and a perfect ending to another great album.

I don’t know what Taylor and Hancox are on but I’ll pre order some now if they let me know. Another album that you can’t categorise. They pilfer and plunder from the rich vaults of great music and use it to their advantage and it’s fuckin’ great stuff. The question now is, how the fuck are they going to sort a set list out when they hit the live circuit? We await with anticipation…

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Words by Wayne Carey, Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here

The post Def Robot: I Always Thought I Was The Funny One – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Def Robot release double A side Reflection / Original Soda Queen!

Def Robot

Lazy bastards Def Robot return with a cracking double A side to start the year before the release of their 11th album in two years with the Spinal Tap inspired title We Go Up To Eleven. Paul Clarke, sorry Taylor gives me a bit of insight…

“Reflection is a comment on authoritarian governments destroying and censoring art. Bit like how the Tories have given no support to musicians and would rather they died off.

Original Soda Queen rails against celebrity leeches who get famous off their other half, without much talent of their own.”

“Founding members Paul Taylor and David Hancox originally met in an alternate universe, eons ago. In 2019, we found a way to communicate and collaborate. Def Robot was thus born. After recording and producing their first 6 albums with various contributing musicians and guest vocalists inside the 1st year (David resides in Berlin, so the logistics are a bit tricky!), Paul set about putting together the live band in his adopted town of Kendal.

Drummer Paul Schwarzer was discovered cleaning Taylor’s windows. His rhythmic knocking on the door, to request payment, was an early indication of his drumming prowess. Bass player Adam Hughes, worked as a waiter in a cocktail bar when Paul met him. Seriously! That much is true. Guitarist – Rob and Simon – keyboards, were jamming friends of drummer Paul. We set about rehearsing to play gigs that were arranged from March 2020 onwards. Then lockdown came and we had to put our tour dates back to another time.
Back to the studio and collaborations!”

Reflection is pure quality. A keyboard led dream like tune which gives a nod to Depeche Mode. It’s an ear worm that gets inside your head after a few listens. Original Soda Queen steps into pure grunge mode with its quiet loud stop start movements led by a great guitar riff. The total opposite of Reflection. How this band are not massive yet is beyond me. I’ve said before that you can’t really put them into any genre. They’re like magpies, taking bits from the vast back catalogues of their favourite bands and melding them into the myriad minds of the Def Robot machine.

Def Robot have now released 10 albums. After great press and reviews, plus radio play around the world, including BBC Introducing on many occasions, the band are going from strength to strength, continuously writing and pushing the boundaries of their songwriting. The 11th album We Go Up To Eleven is being recorded for release this summer. It features Paul Taylor on vocals, David Hancox on instrumentation and Chris Willcocks (Kerosene) on drums.

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Words by Wayne Carey, Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here

The post Def Robot release double A side Reflection / Original Soda Queen! appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Def Robot: A Guide For Survival In A Complex Future – album review

Def Robot

A Guide For Survival In A Complex Future

(Pearls For Swine Records)

DL – Bandcamp (other platforms available)

Louder Than War Bomb Rating 4

The highly prolific Kendal / Berlin Mancunian duo have been lazy bastards recently, not releasing an album for 6 months. Def Robot return with a futuristic dystopian cracker that harks back to that Depeche Mode sound in their own vein. Wayne AF Carey tries to crack the code of album number 10 with the help of the Mark E Smith of the Covid era, the outspoken wise Paul Taylor…

If you don’t know by now I fuckin’ love this band. LTW’s Nigel Carr has warmed to them, LTW master writers Ged Babey and Neil Hodge are on board. They have a year old back catalogue to die for. You can dip in and out of it and find that many styles of music it’s insane. They plunder from every genre going yet do it with style and make it their own. Paul Taylor is now a voice on his own with Def Robot and Mr Hancox just takes the piss with how good he is on guitar. Apparently Paul has got a band together all ready to tour this mass collection of top tunes accumulated over a year. Yes. A fuckin’ year. If it weren’t for the fact that 95% of these tunes are ace I wouldn’t bother. I’ve been there with record labels and PR in the past and just can’t fathom why they’ve not been signed yet. Are you listening out there?? Paul explains the album track by track and I deliver my As Fuck verdict.

March On

“When fascism rises, you’ve gotta say no. Simple as. The only thing stopping out and out revolution against the upper class twats right now, is the pandemic. Society should be a level playing field in this day and age.”

What an opening track. Futuristic fun, magic background guitar effects and drum machined up to fuck. Like a jolly Nine Inch Nails with loads of ‘nah nah nahs’ Brilliant.

America Can Do

“Written and recorded as the American election came to its conclusion. The great thing about making music off the cuff, is how up to date you can be about current affairs. Lines about Florida numb nuts feeding the alligators and politicians not caring about the truth. Set to a Clash inspired soundtrack.”

A dark bassline kicks in matched by Paul’s weird as fuck vocals diving in to a proper funked up track that gives you a dash of The Clash and PIL going all dub on your arse. The DR brothers are upping their game. A real dig at the Trump era.

Strange Design

“Let’s face it, life is weird. Last thing we need is for shit to get weirder! We all need to be that bit more friendly and compassionate towards our fellow humans and animals.

A proper laid back tune here with some amazing guitar moves from Hancox. A nod to insomnia on this which has affected them both. Some great organ sounds going on with a nice class bit of Floydian stuff.

Sick Of The Hunt

“Ever get sick of being beaten on and pushed to the limit of your existence, by arrogant rich bastards that wouldn’t know hardship if it came and shat on their head? Time to stop, turn round and nut that Gove twat in the throat.”

A lovely Manc twinged intro kicks this off then it goes all Pixies. It’s the bass and lovely guitar chugs that drag you in. “One rule for them, another for the rest” Says it all really. An album highlight.

Future People

“If you could warn future generations about the dangers of political and environmental shenanigans, what would you say? I’d certainly advise against time travel to 2020, for fear of going into an apoplectic rage and making your head explode.”

A gothic sounding dark track that sounds futuristic as fuck yet harking bark to 80’s electronica. Taylor and Hancox know their stuff. Top notch songwriting yet again.

Bretwalda

“Bretwalda is an ancient word akin to overlords and kings. About time that shit was done away with, yet we still have cunts born into power”

The highlight of the album to me. Pink Floyd overtones mixed with grunge. A proper crashing guitar riff that gives a Killing Joke feel yet a proper Def Robot flavour. This will be a staple in their live sets when we return to the new normal. Amazing drums to boot. Where the fuck do these tunes come from??

Golf

“It has been said that golf is a good walk spoiled and I concur. Bound to see some utter twat like Trump on a golf course. Don’t mind the game in principle, but as usual, rich fucks have taken over. A song harking back to David’s teenage punk years, with the song written by his then band ‘Tim’ and sung by David’s ‘ol mucker Dan Graham.”

A proper full on punk rush that ends before it starts if you know what I’m saying…

Bad Dream

“Do you feel like you’re in a bad dream, waiting to wake up? Yeah, so do we… Was the start of a concept album that became ‘A Guide…’

Another dark number which features violins and is a trip hop dubstep masterpiece. Think Portishead on a bad trip hanging out with Burial and Aphex Twin before kicking in to a magic Muse like riffage stomper. Highlight number two.

The Devil Rides Out

“The devil may be defeated for now, but beware as he will return in another guise. We also still have the dribbling village idiot Boris wielding his dubious power.”

Tarantino inspired music going on here with the funk flowing due to the excellent drums and shimmering guitars. Another rabble rousing track that keeps you interested in the myriad world of Def Robot.

Pleasant Town

“Inspired stylistically by The Fall, a tale of small town madness, homogenising your existence.”

Another cracking track here that’s a slight nod to the mighty Mark E Smith. Not forgetting Dr Clarke of course. Eerie stuff here, futuristic and funky as fuck. Highlight number three.

Cup Of Joe

“Again with the current affairs. We’re like Newsnight without the pay offs. Joe may not be great, but anything is better than a pile of shit.”

A bit of a surf rockabilly sound here slowed right down. They certainly know their shit here. Wouldn’t sound out of place on a Cabbage album. Short but sweet.

Dub In Hell

“How Do I Know If I’m In Hell from the 9th album, revisited and reworked as a Dub remix after a suggestion by Ged Babey”

Highlight number four is a dubbed up version of the brilliant spoken word track from album 9. Dark and foreboding. Our main man Ged gives wise advice and Paul has melded this track into a brooding slab of stoned out echoing dub. An excellent end to an ambitious album.

Taylor and Hancox cannot stop churning out the tunes. They’re like a leaking tap that is ready to burst. When it bursts the people might cotton on to their magic. Here’s hoping. The creativity is shocking. Bring on album eleven!

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Words by Wayne Carey, Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here

 

The post Def Robot: A Guide For Survival In A Complex Future – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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