The Robot Heart – The Robot Heart

Brighton’s Bleeding Heart Recordings is carving out a good reputation for releasing some of the UK’s best folk and acoustic music.

While acts such as King James are notable the pick of the bunch for us is The Robot Heart, perhaps the most indie leaning on their roster and one of our Top Ten bands to watch out for in 2011.

We’ve already reviewed their excellent debut EP Dust, which came out last year, and this self-titled debut full-length album features most of the tracks on that.

Among the highlights from the Dust tracks is’ Raining Stones’, which perfectly encapsulates the band’s core sound of choral style vocals, acoustic guitar and piano.

But with just four new tracks (five if you count the thirty second piano intro) it does raise a question mark over how quickly the band can progress.  Granted,  churning out chart hits at lightning pace is not what they are about as the music is more about feeling and atmosphere than strong melodies. Nevertheless it is a slight worry that none of the new tracks have a melody to better or even match  ‘Lost In Stereo’, the standout on both Dust and this album.

That is not to say the new tracks are poor. Far from it. ‘Static’ and ‘Crossing the desert in a taxi’ are among the best on the album, even if they have to rely more on mood and texture than melody.

Another new track the electro-folk ‘The Machine’ is also worth a mention. It gives a hint at where the band can progress for their second album. As Young Marble Giants (the post punk band with a stripped back sound that fizzled out after one album) showed, there is only so far a band can go with subtle instrumentation.

‘The Machine’ suggests that more electronic sounds could be added for future songs, propelling them in a similar direction to Vetiver, Tuung and other indie folk acts with an experimental edge. I hope they go that way. The other way, with commercial production and clichés, leads to a nether world of Coldplay….shudder.

7/10

by Joe Lepper

For more information about The Robot Heart and Bleeding Heart Recordings click here.

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