Botpop Volume One (Happy Robots)
The term "indietronica" is finally being reclaimed by the very wonderful Happy Robots records (home of Arthur and Martha) to represent a compilation of perfect pop ditties where pure electropop and indie aesthetics cross-pollinate to breed a new kind of POP! Whereas the term "indietronica" has more and more become an excuse for uneventful underachieving singer-songwriter type "indiepop" artists to make their meandering "tunes" look more interesting and "radical" by adding some superficial electronical clicks (and no I am not naming any names, you will just have to work it out for yourselves) the Happy Robots team show how it should properly be done.
No mere melding of an electronic undercarriage to dull pedestrian indiepop tunes here. Instead we get a compilation full of first rate electropop gems, albeit with a true independent heart beating under their shiny robotic exterior. BotPop opens up with the latest instalment in Swedish band the Bridal Shop's quest to make THE perfect pop song of the year and they might just have achieved their goal. Whereas their songs have always been the perfect marriage between true Sarah records-esque indiepop and a Saint Etienne-esque dancepop shimmer, "cloudkick" sees them perfecting this skill by adding an even more dancefloor friendly touch, making it an almost balearic type classic for the naughties.
Arthur and Martha themselves deliver another highlight with new track "ultra alliance", less a gliding Kraftwerk-esque tune than their "autovia" single, but more of a New Order-type melody vs Pet Shop Boys influenced dancefloor anthem…
Former Plone member Mike In Mono shows he is still master of the electropop instrumental, albeit in a less children television/radiophonic workshop take on the Plone sound. "Promare" sounds more like one of those wonderful instrumentals you could find tucked away on the b-side of an old Soft Cell
The wonderfully monikered “Television Keeps Us Apart” deliver a sort of electropop take on the classic
Jupiter's "rollergirl" is everything you'd wish a Annie song would sound like (but seldom does). The Hong Kong in the 60's track "meet at Vincent Sq" sounds like Kraftwerk soundtracking a 60's spy thriller with Laetitia Stereolab or Kazu Blonde Redhead on additional vocals, and is utterly gorgeous (again and again they show themselves to be one of the finest and most versatile new bands about and I for one can't wait for them to get round to releasing an album which will be an absolute masterpiece). Ooh, I could go on and on ... There's no fillers here.
The enigmatic The Coal Daughters close proceedings with "panzerkrieg", another stately electropop instrumental which could have been included on Japan's classic "gentlemen take polaroids" album (and that is meant as a compliment).