Release Date: Oct 14, 2014
Record label: Fader Label
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Punk Blues
You could be forgiven for dismissing the Bots as a case of style over substance. Two brothers signed to the label offshoot of US fashion/music/style rag Fader, they recorded demos with Damon Albarn and their album features production from Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei almost seem too pristinely cool, like Simon Cowell’s idea of what a band should be like.
The Bots' early singles and albums often gave the impression that they were the work of a few different bands; Pink Palms, the duo's full-length debut for Fader, is similarly confusing, but not unpleasantly so. Even the album's title is a bit ambiguous -- are Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei referring to rosy hands or fake trees? -- but this uncertainty is an apt expression of the brothers' stylistically hyperactive music. Though their stated influences include the White Stripes and Black Keys, the Bots engage in far riskier and more interesting collisions of sounds on Pink Palms, and more often than not, elements that should be at odds end up working well together.
The once atypical guitar/drums formation popularised by The White Stripes might now be commonplace, but The Bots are out to invigorate the format on their first album proper. Opener ‘Ubiquitous’ draws heavily on the LA duo’s grungily incendiary live shows, while there’s plenty of nuance elsewhere. ‘All I Really Want’, with its spoken-word verses and coruscating punk rhythm, is a modern hymn to inertia and infatuation; ‘All of Them (Wide Awake)’ is warm and fuzzy, recalling The Lemonheads at their most approachable.