Music | CD Review: Robotnik – Pleasant Square


Artist: Robotnik
Album: Pleasant Square
Rating: C

Robotnik is Polish for worker. Unfortunately, much of this album just doesn’t work. The Baldoyle
man’s debut solo album, Pleasant Square, is unusual and experimental.

Robotnik takes a foundation of lo-fi indie pop and perks it up with a disparate range of instruments
and techniques.

On ‘Lazy Boy’, he juxtaposes grand, austere wind instruments with electronic bleeps that would have been more at home on an early-nineties dance compilation.

‘Kill the Stubborn’ makes use of a djembe (an African drum), a washboard and arrhythmic whistling to curious effect.

Several tracks feature this kind of energetic, creative matchmaking. On ‘I Found Jesus in the Year 2027’, Robotnik unexpectedly adds some beat boxing to an otherwise conventional pop track. A strange,  inconsistent approach to song structure evinces an admirable inventiveness and ease with convention breaking.

However, Robotnik’s vocals, though competent, fail to do anything new. They evoke a variety of references including that of Morrissey, the Beatles and Joy Division.

Even though this interweaving of the incongruent genres of acoustic pop and electronica is admirable, Robotnik brings very little new to the table; he mostly mixes ideas that were already there. It’s as if he put ice cream and chips on a plate together- you’ve had them before, but never at the same time.

‘People Walk Away’ and its ilk fare better than the lo-fi, moody new single, ‘Weird Street’.

In a Nutshell: Upbeat, perky tracks provide the stand-out moments on a sporadically creative, multi-faceted album.

Eoin Brady