Lousy Robot – Smile Like You Are Somewhere Else

Lousy Robot
Smile Like You Are Somewhere Else

October is a weird month here in the Pacific Northwest. From the minute spring temperatures rise above 60 degrees up until now, people flock outside to enjoy the endless green forests and shining waters. Every summer I look around me and think there can’t possibly be another place as amazing as this area. And then the reason my mom has nicknamed this area “The Great North Wet” begins to set in. With everyone’s spirits falling with each dark cloud that rolls in, happy music is definitely a necessity.

Today was probably the last day I would hear lawn mowers ’til April and those sunny, 70-degree days are over. So in my depressed state, I reached for Lousy Robot out of the stack of albums sitting on my desk since they promised me upbeat tunes recommended for those who enjoyed the music of The New Pornographers. However, being a fan of the Canadian singer-songwriter super group, I have to say I do not agree with this comparison.

“Welcome All to My Weird Awakening” opens the album with guitar-based music you would be more likely to hear on an album by Jet than New Porn. I was immediately disappointed because I just can’t get on that bandwagon. However, The Lousy Robot, completely turned it around for me in track two with the hand-clapping, catchy harmony-filled, pop bliss of “It’s Getting To Me”. I particularly enjoy the ending with the guitar melody fighting for the spotlight with the high-pitched piano plinking. This is easily one of my favorite tracks on the record.

The roller coaster continues, however, with “Mile Low Club” that has quite possibly the most annoying keyboard notes grating in repetition in the background. The best part about this song is that it doesn’t last very long and is really just an intro to the following track “Help Me Count The Ways I Say Yeah”. While this song may be better than its intro, it has little to offer with both the lyrics and the music. But if all you want is upbeat, danceable tunes that will make you feel good, then this will do it for you although that’s about all it will do.

A few more non-attention-grabbing songs later and we come to “Slower” which is, surprisingly enough, slower than the rest of the album. A simple piano melody opens the first 45 seconds before hushed vocals enter the scene followed by some 80’s style guitar layered into the background with drums and electronic strings. The vocals in this song are a little hard to understand and kind of mumble their way through the lyrics but it fits the style of the song. I enjoyed this break among the up-tempo post-punk poppers but my mellow enjoyment is slapped in the face when “The Man Who Has Everything” takes the tempo back up again with some electric guitar likely to be heard on several other albums in this genre.

Luckily, the album closes with “A Way Of Overstating” a delightful piano-based pop tune that rivals “It’s Getting To Me”. This lower tempo song leaves me with the feeling that this group makes the best music when the band sits just under the upbeat mark. As soon as they take their music to the danceable level, it gets lost. I’d like to see what they could do if they explored their talent for layering lush harmonies and mid-tempo musical happiness a little further than a couple tracks.