Indie-Rock Band Fellow Robot Release Soaring New Album
There’s no band quite like Fellow Robot. The California-based group are far from obvious with the kind of rock they’re hammering out. They don’t just make music — they tell a story and they offer an exploratory experience with every release. Building a whole conceptual identity that finds Fellow Robot at the center of artificial intelligence and the wild world it inhabits, the band spin clever tales woven into indie-rock compositions.
With their newest album, The Robot’s Guide To Music: Volume 2, Fellow Robot traverse a darker world than they last broached. “I knew well before going into Volume 2 that it would be a difficult process. The first album was mostly about the good times in Fellow’s life, hence the more folk-y songs and happy tones present in Volume 1. Volume 2 is both sonically and lyrically on a different plane than its predecessor. In our sophomore album, everything is taken away from Fellow Robot, and through his pain he rebuilds and repurposes his life to become the Golden Man at the end of the album,” the band tells The Music Mermaid. “My favorite lyric from the album is in 'Everything That’s Wrong,’ — "We’re easily replaced, forgotten, and erased.” I think this lyric shows the frailty of the human experience. The songs in V2 seem to complement each other better than our first record. Production-wise, we wanted to incorporate a cinematic feel to show the depth of pain."
Volume 2 kicks off with “Walk Away,” a track with so much personality in it that there’s not really one single thread to hold on to here. Its very beginning suggests we’ll get a searing rock anthem, maybe, but suddenly it bursts into this retro bop colored by 60s sweetness and dreamy surf-pop vibes. On “Don’t Deny Me,” the tone has taken a completely unexpected turn — gone is the jubilee. In its place is a languishing, nearly theatrical piece that twinkles with tropically-tinged keys and floats on falsetto clouds. Later, “Darker Days” combines twangy strums with a more structurally intense arrangement of fuzzy rock, one of the most addictive instances of instrumental unity on the album, pounding away beneath an emotive vocal delivery — the gut-punch clamor that explodes towards the end of the track is remarkable, to say the least.
On “So What,” things move a touch more tenderly as a slightly shoegaze based arrangement guides the track. There’s still the grunge-y reverb and the orchestral grandness that has become Fellow Robot’s signature, but it’s lush and emotional, the vocals drawn out over a soft, steady arrangement that only pulses when it has to. “Cemetary Song” is devoid of the band’s typical crushing cacophony, opting instead to once again drone a dark, drowsy post-rock narrative. The Robot’s Guide to Music: Volume 2 ends 11 tracks later with “Golden Man,” in which the battered robot we met at the beginning of the album rebuilds into a golden man. It’s a weighty concept, so the music mimics it with a stunning buildup of subtle synth buzzes in the distance, heartbeat percussion, and pretty acoustic strums before evolving into an arrangement rich with new flavors and techniques. It’s aptly named, because it really does feel golden, like it was brushed with gilded edges meant to glow in the early morning or on the fringes of nightfall.
The Robot’s Guide To Music: Volume 2 is a dizzying feat of thematic rock genius. Through waves and waves of indie-rock flavor, Fellow Robot deliver a true exploration of a world they’ve created just for us. It’s an honor.
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