Folky balladeers Robot Ate Me impress from the start on Carousel Waltz on Olympia's 5RC Records. "Bad Feelings" immediately draws listeners in with steady and catchy instrumentation along with Ryland Bouchard's inventive lyrics and take-charge vocals, which are quickly reminiscent of Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips. The simplified instrumentation is a stripped-down version of Robot Ate Me's vision, compared to their more experimental previous works. Acoustic guitar and elegant horns are pervasive throughout. The album's tones alternate from the hopeful to the regret-laden, highlighted by Bouchard's quirky turns of phrase and vocal style. Standouts include the optimistically rousing "All Good Things"; the changing momentum of "Tonight"; and the steady, somber tones of "Just One Girl." Bouchard's strength as a lyricist is evident throughout. The disc ends with the moody "Come Together" and mesmerizing "Hi Love," on which his vocals are easily comparable to Eric Metronome. Carousel Waltz is an impressive next step in the progression of Robot Ate Me.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer