At someofitistrue we like to focus on the music and have only a secondary interest in a band’s moniker and/or image. But, having said that, we’ve got to say that Robots With Souls is just such a really cool name. We weren’t sure what to expect when this landed on our desk, but the name conjured images of electronic circuits, lab coats and backwards recordings of pianos falling down staircases. In actual fact Robots With Souls are a noisy rock band from Oxford, the sole work of musician and producer Steve Wilson.
“Watch Out!” is the most immediate track of this double A side single release. There is a great sense of brooding darkness and paranoia throughout the whole song. It starts off with pounding beats, the perfect soundtrack to being chased by secret police in some future Oxford gone bad. It has a great bass/drum sound that drives the song along and there are stabs of guitar to add colour. Steve’s terrace chant vocals fit perfectly to the overall sense of foreboding. I really like this song, it reminds me for no real reason, of Sliver by Nirvana; it has that great mixture of simplicity and excitement, but with added Glitter band style glam rock drum stomp. The video is also excellent.
“Droids That Bleed” has an introductory one minute drone before kicking off in earnest. It has more of a regular verse, chorus, verse, song structure than the stompy “Watch out!”, but has the same general feel of paranoia and impending doom. It requires repeat listening and has a great ending, stopping much earlier than expected and catching the listener unawares. It’ll be interesting to see how this song works live, where apparently Steve plays everything himself. Music In Oxford called Robots With Souls the ”Black Sabbath in-the-future rock” and that is a pretty neat description of “Droids That Bleed”
For this listener, the robots here are not man’s electronic friend doing the mundane tasks we don’t want to do whilst we sip cocktails on the beach, but man himself, living a repressed and controlled existence within a dystopian society. So think Robots with Souls as the rebels trying to evade federation troopers from the future as depicted in Blake 7, rather than the friendly C3PO of Star Wars fame.
Review by @tvermar