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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ima Robot. and the Reason I Quit My Job

Alex Ebert (vox), Timmy ´The Terror´ (guitars), Young Oligee (keyboards), JMJ (bass), Joey (drums) form the sound behind Ima Robot.
Alex Ebert (vox), Timmy ´The Terror´ (guitars), Young Oligee (keyboards), JMJ (bass), Joey (drums) form the sound behind Ima Robot.

Ima Robot. released their self-titled debut album in September 2003 but have become rather popular recently. My initial impression of the band was its name, which to me suggested something from the techno club scene. I expected to hear music along the lines of Daft Punk or even Louie DeVito.

Thankfully however, I heard almost precisely the opposite. The first third or so of the album did remind me of radio-friendly punk rock, but not in a Blink 182 sort of way. “Dynomite” actually sounded like Rancid with a synthesizer. So I gave the record a once over.

As the album progressed, Rancid with a synthesizer faded and other genres of music began to emerge in the songs. It was definitely bred out of the punk rock scene, but also blended a new wave 80s sound, perhaps with a touch of glam.

I can’t give readers a thorough review of Ima Robot.’s debut album without explaining the reason I can personally hear these sounds in the album. Until very recently, I worked at Newbury Comics for four “wicked good” years. On that note, I would like to take a brief moment to inform readers that I am not a music critic, hipster, or a fan of punk rock.

I am, however, familiar with the hipsters that were also employed by CEOs Mr. Dreese and Mr. Brusger, not to mention the hipster customers that frequented the store. If you wonder why I give readers these details, the reason is quite simple: Ima Robot. is the reason I quit my job. Well, I guess the two are indirectly related. The band did sound like every CD that pounded in my brain over the past six months. Most of my ex-coworkers are fans of punk rock or thoroughly enjoy The Smiths, The Cure, or The Faint. So, I would recommend Ima Robot. to listeners of this sort, especially all of the punk rockers out there who are fans of the Buzzcocks, 999, and The Stranglers.

Some of you folks may have come across the Newbury Comics’ release The Early Years, Vol. 1, 1977-1984. Since Newbury Comics initially started out as a small punk rock record store, the compilation released by the company includes several songs from the early punk rock scene. I mention this because several songs on the album sound like Ima Robot. And of course for folks who are not at all familiar with punk rock or new wave, perhaps I could say the vocals and style of music are sort of reminiscent of David Bowie.

But by now, you are dying to hear this band! Or maybe not. But since September, the band has been touring with The White Stripes, Jane’s Addiction, The Ravonetts, and Junior Senior. Check out Ima Robot. at Axis in Boston on February 23.

Although the band sadly reminds me of my old job, you may find other memories in their songs. You may be reminded of your youth, your ex-girlfriend, your puppy, or even those long drives along I-95. I don’t want to give Ima Robot. a bad rap. I really don’t. But personally, I believe if we were going to bring the 80s back, I would go with The Darkness.