Review of Happiness vs. Sadness Album by Robots In Disguise

Electro Punk rockers, Robots In Disguise, found success with their undoubted ability to produce mouth watering hook after mouth watering hook, backed up by their extravagant personalities and unorthodox dress sense. Dee Plume and Sue Denim, otherwise known as Delia Gaitskell and Suzanne Powell, have had collaborations with 'The Mighty Boosh' joining the TV Show on tour in 2008, starring as various characters including themselves and two Goths, then performing live at the after shows.

Robots In Disguise Happiness vs. Sadness Album

The opening track and lead single off the album 'chains' doesn't hold back, an immediate opening chorus of 'chains, chains, chains, chains, chains, we're linked to each other with chains' emphasises the intentions of the album: big pop choruses, riffs that are impossible to ignore and catchy vocals. The influences are obvious, 70's punk rock meets 80's electro pop, distorted guitars in the likes of 'Lets Get Friendly' and 'I'm a Winner' show the alternative rock side of Robots In Disguise that is necessary in order to ensure they don't turn into a generic pop flop like, say, The Ting Tings.

The two vocalists complement each other perfectly, bouncing off each other in tracks like 'Don't Go' and 'Lady & the Flies'. The vicious bass line that runs throughout 'Lies' is strangely satisfying, the following track 'Sink In The Dirt' carries on this dark, aggressive tone that suits the Robots' style so well. The finale to the album 'I'm A Winner' has been entered for the 2012 Olympic soundtrack bid, its simple pop chord progression and pounding lyrics of 'I'm A Winner, I'm A Winner' would no doubt be suitable for the occasion. Although the sublime hooks and neatly crafted melodies make an immediate impact at first listen there is much more to the ten tracks, funky bass lines often slip by unnoticed and the songs wouldn't be the same without the subtle synthesized effects and background electronics.

It is immediately clear that the duos' upbeat melodies and the drumbeats traditionally associated with dance music would make for energetic and exhilarating live performances. Pretty much every track on Happiness vs. Sadness could have been the albums lead single and whether you like it or not the choruses will stick in your head for weeks after listening.

Although the odd track on Happiness vs. Sadness sometimes starts to sound worryingly like The Ting Tings, the album is, on the whole, thoroughly enjoyable, offering a unique and individual experience with every listen, adding something a little different to the current 80's revival.

James Hopkin

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