Robot Trouble Ep
By: Eric G.
I bet Matt Sharp of The Rentals is really pissed off at Barcelona for putting him to shame. Barcelona mixes an indie rock ethos with retro-synthesized computer rock and nerdy male/female vocal interplay, which is precisely what Matt Sharp has been desperately trying to emulate on both of The Rentals’ albums but has failed miserably, especially on the most recent stinker, Seven More Minutes.
Barcelona is unabashed ear candy. Double tracked vocals, saturated keyboards, and sparse guitars mark its pop-oriented brand of retro-futurism. Even when the music is slightly melancholy you can’t help but smile and sing along. “Robot Trouble” is very Gary Numan-esque musically, but the confusion ends as soon as the nasally vocals kick in. The chorus is filled with call and response ‘Ooh wah-ooh’s’ and early-eighties synth lines. The remix veers into more experimental electronic territory with programmed beats, heavy, effects-laden vocals, and a distinct lack of guitars.
“Social Engineering” is just as catchy as “Robot Trouble”, employing similarly endearing keyboard lines and technologically obsessed lyrics. It hovers in a whirl of bubbling keyboards and simple beats. The vocals are slow and drawn-out in order to sound vaguely robotic. This five track EP also includes a remix of “Sunshine Delay” off Simon Basic by Trevor Holland, and a twee version of Men Without Hats’ Pop Goes The World.” Barcelona is pixie-stix pop for computer geeks like you.