"As slick and punchy as the early Cars...and with a melodic sensibility somewhere between the Beach Boys and Stephen Hawking, Wait 3 Days...is top-notch pop." - Brad Quinn, Cincinnati Citybeat, Volume7, Issue 17, March 15-21, 2001.
Though Columbus' Go Robot, Go! isn't the only band employing sci-fi imagery, claiming that they're actually extraterrestrials (cyborgs returned to earth to save pop music, more specifically), few of their fellow Martian/robot rockers can match the musical prowess with which GRG backs their interplanetary mythology. And Wait 3 Days . . . Then Attack is GRG's best work to date.
While Convertible and Super Vacation, and even the early Shinola work, are all solid records, the latest disc elevates GRG's style to the next level. They're retro without being redundant; they seethe with pop exuberance without being overly sticky and bubble gummy; they're slightly kitschy without excessive camp. The song writing is consistently strong, though varies in tone and color: quirky ("At The Arcade"), a touch doleful ("We Have The Technology"), noisy ("Game Over"), or symphonic ("Semi-Annual Sale"). Most importantly, their fuzzy, whirring, analog keyboards and gadgets sound really fuckin' cool! That's because these sonic gizmos are used tastefully, adding depth to the simply rendered pop songs without ever functioning as their basis or detracting from the yummy melodies and harmonies.
I hear elements that remind me of The Cars, then the Beach Boys, '60's garage rock, surf, The Beatles, The Blue Men, Zumpano, Brown25, The Apples In Stereo, Olivia Tremor Control, Lilys, Cheap Trick, the Buzzcocks, Man Or Astro-Man?, Sonic Youth, The Revelers, Stereolab, The Feelies, The Swirlies, The Flaming Lips, The Flaming Groovies... ad nauseam -- let's just say they're eclectic. Oddly enough, one band that Go Robot, Go! has very little in common with is Rise Robot Rise.
To repeat, in order to avoid any unnecessary confusion, GRG are not really "organic autonomans from the future." They're a band from Columbus, Ohio, that can get pretty bizarre at times -- can feel like it's another world with aliens that appear to be Midwesterners, yet speak with a southern twang and put ice in their pink wine -- it is not outer-space. Even though they're not the extraterrestrial saviors that they claim to be, GRG is definitely helping to keep that spirit of buoyant, good-timey, space-age-garage-pop alive and flourishing.
-- Glass Eye Magazine
Slipping a slightly spacey sheen over honey-drenched power pop, Go Robot, Go! pulls something of a Man or Astro-Man?. The songs are thick and gorgeous, complimented by some fine organ and keyboard work. The band members themselves are basically anonymous, and there is an almost single-minded focus on a theme (song titles like "At the Arcade," "We Have the Technology" and "[Insert Token]" certainly give a hint).
All the while, the music kinda spins in its own axis. There are plenty of ways to get some distance from the pack, and these guys have done an exemplary job. No rip-off jobs here, though I will say this does sound just a bit like the old Vancouver band Pluto. I liked them a lot, too.
And it sounds sooooooo good. There's a hint of the glam mixed in with the spacey accouterments. The generally mid-tempo songs are goofy and powerful enough to keep the album in motion. No slow downs or abrupt stops. Just a soft, cushy ride.
Don't wait three days. Go for this now. Sugary pop this good doesn't come around very often. I'm utterly smitten.
-- Aiding & Abetting
It's the policy of CityBeat's CD of the Week to search the globe for CDs worthy of your attention. We've rung up huge phone bills interviewing artists in London, Amsterdam, Paris and, uh, Georgia. But this week, we've looked no farther than our very own backyard to bring you Wait 3 Days ... Then Attack from Columbus, Ohio's Go Robot, Go!
And we're not -- as you might cynically assume -- giving it to 'em just because they're local boys. One listen and you'll agree that our Ohio rockers can keep up with the Lenny Kravitzes, the Pocos, the U2s and the Paul McCartney and Wings. The song "Kelly Affair," for example, has enough fuzzy guitar kick to make you want to blow through traffic lights, even if you're not driving. "Scary Futon," on the other hand, does for furniture what Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho did for showers. Frightening stuff.
As slick and punchy as the early Cars, as goofy as Sparks (almost), and with a melodic sensibility somewhere between the Beach Boys and Stephen Hawking,Wait 3 Days ... is topnotch Pop.
Last week, three members of Go Robot, Go!, Neal -- guitar, keys and vocals; Dave -- bass and vocals; and Jim -- drums, met up with CityBeat at a local massage parlor/tanning salon to discuss their latest CD.
CityBeat: The track "Kelly Affair," is that a reference to Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, the greatest Rock & Roll film ever made?
Dave: Yes, it is. The movie is absolutely amazing. The soundtrack absolutely rocks. The song is a humble tribute to the most rockingest band that never was, The Kelly Affair, or if you rather, The Carrie Nations. Go see the movie.
CB: They say that "In space, no one can hear you scream," but I'm not buying it. What do you guys think?
Dave: That is actually a modern myth dispelled by basic physics. It is known, however, that you can't hear a tree fall in space. Don't ask me where I went to college.
Neal: I believe the actual quote is "If a tree falls in space, and lands on your transponder, no one can hear you scream." Which is, of course, incorrect. The audio-helio micro-circuitry should still pick up a signal, providing, of course, the nuclear retro-switch has been thrown prior to lift-off.
Jim: Well, it depends, because if sound travels by waves through air, and there is no air in space, because space is a vacuum, then the answer would be '"no" -- BUT, if you were in space, you would be in a space suit, which would have air in it, and so you would hear yourself.
CB: What is a Dojo and why are you waiting for one?
Jim: I believe it is the slang term for the subway in Bismark, N.D. As you all know, the Bismark subway only seats five, so the wait can be awhile, plus they only let humans sit on the back, and the bison sit in front ... and they are always edgy after work ...
Dave: (in furious disagreement) A Dojo is a samurai's place of seclusion and contemplation. The song is actually a reference from another of our favorite movies, Boogie Nights. Yeah, we watch too much TV.
CB: Tell us about the group's attraction to retro-futurism? Does it stem from too much Jetsons or not enough?
Neal: I've often pondered that same question. Such promising young men we were, until that fateful day we decided to throw our lives away into the debauchery and decadence that so tragically characterizes Go Robot, Go!
But seriously, I suspect the real blame lies with the pointy brassieres worn by all the women on the original Star Trek series. Vavavavoooom! Come to think of it, Judy Jetson does seem to wear similar outfits.
CB: If "Go Robot Go" was called "Go, You Big 18-Wheeler, Go!" instead, what might some of your songs be titled?
Dave: "A Boy Named Gin;" "Big Bear Honky Monkey;" "Baby, You Ain't No Prize;" "Rubber Duck Roadblock;" "The More I Drink (The Better You Look);" "Alimony Hangover;" "Trailer Park Baby."
Jim: "Put the Hammer Down," "The Kenworth Aerodyne Affair," "9900 Pounds of Marmalade That's Gotta Get to Spokane."
CB: Space Invaders or Galaga?
Neal: Galaga. Hands down.
CB: The Lemon Pipers or the Ohio Express?
Dave: Definitely the Lemon Pipers. We used to cover "Green Tambourine" until certain losers in the band got sick of it.
Neal: Piss off.
CB: "Semi-annual Sale" is one of the most spacey and atmospheric tracks on the record, yet it has a decidedly earth-bound title. What gives?
Dave: Uhh, we have huge posters from Victoria's Secret hanging in our studio that feature a beautiful lingerie model and proclaim "semi-annual sale." Whilst naming the songs on the record we were stuck, and the inspiration jumped off the posters. How lame is that. I've always loved that saying though.
Neal: The posters actually hang on the wall that's behind me when we practice. I thought Dave was being profound until it dawned on me. Then I knew he was being profound.
CB: Go, Robot, Go! is playing on the Monsters of Rock tour at Castle Donnington. You guys are third on a bill of five. Who else is on the bill?
Dave: Strawberry Alarm Clock, Weezer, The Zombies, The Jesus and Mary Chain. And Willie Nelson warms the crowd up with a few acoustic numbers.
Neal: Hmm, I think I'd like to see Elvis from around '58, the Beatles from around '63, Beethoven from, oh, 1800 or so, and, of course, Rockets to
Mars. In space, can they hear you sucking up?
-- Cincinnati City Beat
Saturday morning. Creep out of bed. Quietly. You try to pull this off too loudly, and your ass will be out mowing the lawn before you can say "Groovy Ghoulies." You rummage through the kitchen, and look for the cereal with the most promise of straight up chocolate. Something like Chocolate Cocoa Bangs. Now, the trick. Turn the TV on, volume down, and turn it up gradually.
And there they were. Josie and the Pussycats, Scooby Doo, The Groovy Ghoulies, The Flintstones, and The Jetsons. What did all this stuff have in common? Cool ass music. That's what.
Half the reason why I watched these shows was for the music. Sure, it was pop, but it just had those thick and catchy hooks. It made me think it would be fun to be in a band. Notice that one catch word. I didn't say it would be cool to be in a band. I said it would be fun. This music was fun.
There must have been another group of guys watching the same stuff. In a far off land, and thinking the same thing.
Go Robot Go's first two CD's quickly made it to the top of my personal listening charts for just that reason. They are thick, quirky, processed, and above all, fun. Wait three days does not depart from this, but builds on the idea.
This go around, they bring out the big guns. Video games. Not Nintendo, not Dreamcast, but the kinds you had to put dough in to play. Yep, they were around when I was a kid. The songs, in vocoded robot style pop along, punctuated by "insert token," "Power Ups," and "Player 1's." very retro, and very cool.
Although this whole era is the foundation of the sound, the sound is indeed modern. Modern enough to keep the CD in my player after more than a few spins. Make this CD your intro into the world of the robots.