Album Review: “New Cells” by Dead Boy Robotics

Dead Boy Robotics, a quickly moving electro-rock dark wave group from Edinburgh, Scotland, is the work of Gregor McMillan, Mike Bryant, and Paul Bannon. After releasing their self-titled debut EP back in 2011, the boys have laid down the synths and software that carried their first record so heavily. In exchange, they’ve picked up more tangible instruments, which in this day and age is becoming rarer. Their new record, New Cells, is defined by rich and charred bass and rhythm guitar lines, weighty drum riffs, and soaring vocals that deliver the lyrics with true conviction.

On this record the band explores introspection, fear, mistrust and end of the world all the while maintaining an incredibly unique punk-infused electro-rock dark wave sound. Each track gushes effortlessly into the next.

The opening cut, “Lost”, introduces itself initially as something the record is not. The first 35 seconds of “Lost” sound like the beginnings of an electronic record when all of a sudden the listener is launched onto the fast track to the heart of Dead Boy Robotics. From this point on, the record never looks back.

“Echo” maintains that tight grip, beginning with the darkest, roughest most unforgiving bass line. In fact, it’s refreshing how decadent and imperative the bass guitar is on this record. The bass guitar isn’t just offering cadence, tempo and rhythm, it’s directing the melody. Check out “Echo”:

 

The title track, “New Cells”, plays tricks on the ears and is one of my favorites. It is the perfect quantity of restraint and calm mixed with just the right amount of darkness, intimidation and volume. When listening on a good pair of headphones, the sounds bounce from ear to ear and slightly distorted vocals and a gentle rhythmic heartbeat lure you in until the song explodes.

The most passive track on the record is the track, “Spells”, which only appears subdued when compared to the rest of the album. It still upholds the intensity established at the start of New Cells. The concluding track, “Ships”, teases the listener with calm, echoing instrumentals and distant vocals but as is the Dead Boy Robotics’ way, these sonic ideas are fused with pounding drums and gritty guitars that leave the listener anything but bored.

New Cells and Dead Boy Robotics’ debut self-titled record are both available on iTunes. New Cells was recorded in Edinburgh at Tape, mastered in New York City and released on the label, Brothers Grimm.

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