Rock 'N' Roll Monkey and the Robots - Detroit Trauma (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Rock 'N' Roll Monkey and the Robots

Rock 'N' Roll Monkey and the Robots: Detroit Trauma

Detroit Trauma (2005)

Drastic Plastic


Not every band who's capable should be allowed to record music. Just because it seems like a good idea doesn't mean that it actually is a good idea. This leaves me as somewhat of a fence-sitter concerning Rock ??N' Roll Monkey and the Robots. Yeah.

An extremely lo-fi affair with a garage rock feel, the lazy vocals of Craig Campell and his rag-tag assortment of contributors create a sound as unfocused as it is eclectic. There's a certain intangible about this project from Detroit, recorded directly to tape. Campell is a jack of all trades, throughout the course of twelve songs honing his skills on the guitar, bass, harmonica, and casio keyboard. The recordings are fuzzy, some of the instruments hard to really make out, but the jangly rhythms and post-punk-like vocal delivery have an uncanny way of prevailing past that.

Still though, the record might be a bit too schizophrenic for its own good.

In half an hour, the album never really has ample opportunity to find itself. It's hit and miss. The misses seem to be just a random assemblage of noises thrown together, or strewn apart just to see what the result is. "Buick City' features some intensely annoying keyboard effects thrown together to support the weight of the robotic-like vocals. The track is just a mess, like the sound of an annoying electronic toy that simply will not shut off because you can't find it in the toybox. There are some more traditional sounding garage rock jams, like "Kill Cold Craig," but even there the band can't help but include some annoying organ work underneath thick waves of dissonance and howling vocals.

There's some interesting ideas in this melting pot for sure, but for the time being, they need to figure out just what kind of dish they play on concocting.

The band is in the process of recording a new, more hi-fi album set for release early this year, so that could definitely be something to look out for.