Right melting pot going on here. The ludicrously named Robocobra Quartet are a mix of Polar Bear with spoken word and lyrical fury of Death Grips. A small group with a big sound with brass, synths and effects. Part Naked City jazz, part hip hop beats, all with a tongue in cheek sense of humour and impeccable performances.
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Straight fucking in with the pointing of the fingers are Robocobra Quartet, whose rhetorical questions, snarky comebacks and seismic meltdowns exist for both words and music. Speaking and singing and sniping is frontrunner Chris Ryan, who talk-hums with the enthusiasms of Ought’s Tim Darcy if he was as nasal as the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle. Behind him is a squawking rock band with a slighter rhythm section, the clarinets, saxophones of different ranges causing a frenzied hardcore medley for the otherwise dimmer noise band to wrestle with.
So the sound is captivating, but who, do you ask, does it sound like? Maybe Pill infatuated with Unwound, which no doubt they are? Straight from the first pitch this thing is invigorated by its mix of skronk and sinewy noise rock, but “You’ll Shrug” reveals a meditative side to the band, reversing their spirits for a sparse white flag of a tune where the saxophone bleeds and the cymbals crash to the couch. At both their hottest and most defeated, this quartet (of about, actually, a dozen people) is compelling.
Robocobra crew are making something expansive and blustery, but Chris Ryan seems to be shooting introspection through it all, singing about isolation and a rejection of the outside world on “Nice Life”, as a juxtaposition of sociable sax bluster brings him up. The stoned and dissonant overtones and octave-screams of “Find X” see him moderately existential at mid-tempo before a piano-led climax see him metamorphose into full-on anxiety. This record twists and turns in both music and mood and though that sounds simple, it’s anything but -- on ‘Music For All Occasions’, it’s mood swings as plot twists.
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- Music For All Occasions by Robocobra Quartet
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