This Robot Life - Dead Letters Of Intent (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

This Robot Life

Dead Letters Of Intent (2003)


This release is very high-school punk… well I guess I should say it reminds me of when I was in high school. All the bands (including my own) would release albums they recorded by themselves in a couple hours, then dubbing the cassettes and slapping together inserts at Kinkos. Dead Letters of Intent isn't quite that bad, but it comes close. The packaging looks like it's just a demo: a plastic sleeve containing a two color screen-printed insert with a crayon drawing portraying a robot. The CD is also screen-printed I think, so it's not a CDR or anything, but it doesn't look too professional.

This Robot Life is just two guys from Milwaukee, playing what they call emo-core, but I would call high-school slop-punk. According to the only site I could find on these guys, the "foundations" of the tracks (the drums and guitar I guess) were recorded live, and then bass and vocals were overdubbed later, on a four-track I'm guessing. "Moments Past" starts the CD off with a promising, yet cliché arpeggiated emo guitar riff over a slow drum beat. The vocals go from a soft, low voice to the more typical high wine, obviously out of the guy's range, and they sound very distant. That much I could tolerate, but then the distorted guitars kick in and suddenly the mix seems much worse, and their description of emo-anything goes out the window.

Track two, "NASA Exploites" (yes it is misspelled on the sleeve) is what really reminded me of those old high school bands. It is just a straight-up punk sound: simple up-tempo drum beat, fuzzy guitar playing four power chords, and growled/screamed vocals. "Your Device" is more of the same, but with even more screaming- the levels going up and down- sounding very amateur. "Combat Habitat" starts off intriguingly with a clean palm muted riff but returns to the screamed punk from prior tracks. The EP clocks in at a total 13 minutes.

With a better recording maybe I could get a better look, but it's hard to dig for good songs under a layer of dominating ultra-fuzz guitar along with the inconsistent sounding vocals. This Robot Life needs to do things right the next time around if they want anyone to listen.