Over the last few years many of the musicians and artists who have, over the years, been associated with Ginger Wildheart have made something of a microcosm of the music industry through the crowdfunding system of Pledgemusic. One of the latest to come out of this is from Wildhearts’ axe-man CJ continuing on from his Mable album with Robot.
Over the years, with his solo material, The Jellys, Honeycrack and others CJ has shown a knack for penning pop-driven rock music that draws on hints of punk and indie to create an harmoniously enjoyable whole, and Robot is no different.
From the outset though there is an extra edge to many of the songs on offer here. The opening title track adds a metallic edge to the guitars, that, combined CJ’s pop-punk clean vocals make for a sound that harks back to The Wildhearts while being clearly all of his own.
The Robot itself deals with the monotony of a day job, something that comes with a bit more believability from this rock star given the fact he doesn’t appear to be a full-time performer anymore, and set the scene for much else to come.
As the album goes on we get to see both sides of CJ with songs about ‘wannabe’ rock stars and the trouble sleeping that comes with having a new baby. All of this mixes and merges to create a nicely varied record that rocks it way through 10 songs including the aforementioned pair, the punk driven F.U.B.A.R. to the singalong poppy closer Sasquatch.
While it’s probably unfair to directly compare, the ‘surname’ does suggest it, and while things here aren’t as wildly extensive and at times experimental as Ginger’s output Robot is, arguably, a far easier and more immediately gratifying listen, like a sugar-coated pill of rock ‘n’ roll that is all the more impressive for all instruments (save the drums) being played by CJ himself.