Californian Indie-rock group Fellow Robot release their new album “Misanthropioid” this month and have shared that the title was due to its brutally honest lyrics and melancholy feelings surrounding what it is to be a human. Fellow Robot originally started out as a concept piece in 2016, pulling lyrics from the sci-fi novel The Robot’s Guide to Music written by singer Anthony Pedroza.

The album opens with `Rabbit` and it`s a number that builds in volume as it evolves but retains a nervy edgy texture. The lyrics reflect the BLM movement in the US. We enjoy more of a straight up rock belter with `Talk To Me` which races along driven by a manic drumbeat.

`I’m Going to Hell` is a delightfully unnerving piece musically as well as lyrically. It begins pretty stripped back with a kind of orchestrated string arrangement and vocal before a complementing harmonising vocal joins and adds a further nervousness to the piece. The lyrics relate to a person whose parents appear to indoctrinate them with conflicting messages of love and religious beliefs. The unsentimental and accepting manner in which the premise is understood and accepted by the recipient is quite moving. There`s a wonderfully expansive quality to `Comforting` which has a kind of retro vibe with an intermittent horn or brass arrangement. A fairly introspective number reflecting on a former friendship or long over relationship.

`The Backseat` has a kind of cinematic all-encompassing aura about it and a song that wouldn`t be out of place in a Tarantino movie. There`s a ballad like consistency to `Crash and Burn` which seems to about a relationship that has its difficulties but the narrator feels it’s worth fighting for.

`The People Next Door` is a wonderfully unsettling listen that possibly reflects one`s paranoia set over a background of cello strings, gentle brass swathes and a rolling or brushed drum skin, delightfully unnerving. I felt `Dull Drone` was the most instantly accessible number on the album. A quite heartfelt rendition of a love lost maybe.

I`m not sure what it was about `Pan` but I have to say I played it numerous times before moving on. It opens with a sort of Skynyrd riff but that`s where the similarity ends and the track becomes an earnest pop-tinged love song or tribute of sorts. It may well be a metaphor about leaving with lyrics like “say goodbye to the world, all you boys and girls, you`re ship is gonna leave and you`re never coming back…” There`s a psychedelic vibe to the track that reminded me a little of the Beatles when they were in their experimental phase. We have an epic composition in `Poppy Fields`. I read somewhere that it was about the opioid epidemic. It eases us in gently with a pretty folky ethereal introduction which morphs into a more thoughtful section with orchestrated segments then develops further into a fairly mesmeric dreamy passage with driving cello and horns. A somewhat prog like masterpiece that doesn`t feel overly long although running at just under ten minutes.   

`Red Eye Lullaby` closes this release and it`s a tender thoughtful indie pop offering to ease us out on.

The band had said that while deeply rooted to its origins, `Misanthropioid` is an album that lives closer to reality than science fiction however blurred those lines are these days. For me it was an intriguing and fascinating listen. I`m not sure if I fully understood it`s lyrical dexterity but nevertheless it`s an utterly compelling opus and if you`re not careful will envelop you and take over your life.

Whether that`s a good or bad thing, I’ll leave you to decide.

Rating 9.5 / 10  

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