Ima Robot

Monument to the Masses

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Style is a funny thing. You go all your life believing you shouldn't wear stripes and checks at the same time, and one day you open up a copy of Vogue to discover that's what absolutely all the cool people are doing, leaving you to wonder what else happened while you weren't looking. Similarly, you may have thought that punk rock power chords, cheezoid new wave synth patches, white-boy rapping, mega-ironic lyrics, and affected David Bowie-esque vocal mannerisms don't belong on the same song or even the same record, but the men of Ima Robot are here to tell you that's not what the new breed says, and they're putting it all together in one fractured get-down on their second full-length, Monument to the Masses. While the Beck-approved studio cats who appeared on Ima Robot's first album have moved on, idea men Timmy "The Terror" Anderson and Alex Ebert haven't let this slow them down, and the new lineup sounds admirably tight, with Flip Nikolic's guitar and keys bringing the rock and the high-gloss finish at the same time, and drummer Scott Devours and bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen making the rhythms tough and glossy at the same time. Lyrically, it's hard to tell when Ima Robot are serious and when they're joking, which in all probably is just the way they want it; any band who crafts a dance anthem out of obvious lifts from "God Save the Queen" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (listen to "Disconnect" for the evidence) would appear to be making a career out of sending mixed signals, and Monument to the Masses is an album that lives in a self-created Twilight Zone where rock, dance, and electro-pop cast a common shadow. Like stripes and checks, it shouldn't work together, but the results are more attractive than you'd think.

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