CLUAS Album Reviews

Robotnik 'Pleasant Square'

May 15

Written by:
Thursday, May 15, 2008  RssIcon

A review of the album Pleasant Squares by Robotnik

Review Snapshot:  Pleasant Square is a sonic walkabout that takes in influences as diverse as Radiohead and The Flaming Lips without ever losing its own sense of identity or purpose. 

The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10

Full Review:Robotnik 'Pleasant Square'
It must be very difficult being a musician and having a wide range of influences and yet being forced to stick to one particular genre for a record just so people like myself can put you away in a nice little box marked 'sounds like...'.  Not so for Robotnik, known to the passport office as 27 year old Dubliner Chris Morrin.  On his debut album, Pleasant Square, Robotnik has managed to take all those influences, merge them together and produce a work that is as unique as it is enjoyable.

From the ambient beginnings of the Flaming Lips like Test 16:9 , through to the Weezer-esque harmonies of Puddlestarter, this album is an atmospheric acoustic adventure for the listener with - especially on first listen - each track serving up something new and exciting to discover.   Repeated listens, however, provide you with an opportunity to enjoy the range of instrumentation and skill that has gone into recording this album which allows it to sound - and I mean this in a good way - like Morrin woke up one morning and decided to record it on a whim.

Album highlights vary on each listen but People Walk Away with its infectiously catchy beat and Dog with no Tail, where Robotnik allows a glimpse at the life of Chris Morrin for one of the few times on the album, are consistently on repeat at the moment, along with Vinedresser which sees Robotnik return, briefly, to his troubadour roots. 

Not once did I find this mix of genres and musical styles irritating and, indeed, the only criticism I can have of Pleasant Square is that it's possibly 12-15 minutes too long; however, in an age where musicians are releasing albums that don't even hit 30 minutes, it's a minor complaint.

Overall, Robotnik has a bright future ahead of him, especially if he can continue to reference his vast array of influences without ever sounding like he is trying to imitate them. 

Steven O'Rourke

 To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.

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