“Genug von diesem Tanzmüll!”
Translated to English: “Enough of this dance garbage!”
As it turns out, that statement is unnecessarily pre-emptive in this instance, as the Robocop Kraus don’t play what I’d consider to be “dance garbage.” They’re no Polysics, that’s for sure. What they are, instead, are a German synth pop act that’s more cleverly crafted hooks than the brute force usually associated with the German culture.
Stereotypes aside, while it’s not normally my bag, these guys do quite a few things well. They’ve been playing the style since the late `90s, giving them plenty of time to hone the craft, with finely cultivated vocal melodies and just the right amount of instrumentation. The quirky sounds that permeate through almost every single song make sure that the music is taken for the playful nature that it does have, and the synth that so many bands misuse to overbearingly annoying levels is tactful, only included to enhance the sound and rhythm of a song that may be lacking in it.
More a victory than anything else, is the fact that so many of these songs have a strong sense of individuality. It starts in the rhythm. “You Don’t Have to Shout” has some very sharp rhythm changes, and an easily memorable and catchy chorus of, you guessed it, “You don’t have to shout!” Even the handclaps play into the lighthearted nature of it all. It’s hard not to get swept up in how much fun this album actually becomes, further proven by the following track, “In Fact You’re Just Fiction.” It's just plain infectious, there’s no way around it; the staccato synth work is sure to have your foot tapping and head bobbing before you’re even aware of what’s going on. By the time you even know it, the last track is on. “There Are Better Lights in Hollywood” begins with the simulated sounds of an organ, until a quick drum roll kick things up a few notches, bringing back that infectious feel that so many of these songs have. Thomas Lang’s deep-but-not-too-deep vocals accent this song even better than most, closing the album out, much to my chagrin.
So, I’ve been duped, I’ll admit it. But I dare you to try to listen to this album and not have a goddamn good time doing it.