MC Lars

This Gigantic Robot Kills

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MC Lars is up to his usual tricks on full-length album number three, This Gigantic Robot Kills, a caffeine-addled mix of pop-punk, laptop rap, and smart aleck, tongue-in-cheek observation on everything from Brooklyn hipster girls and the green movement to Guitar Hero and the metric system. The title is borrowed from the late Wesley Willis, apparently a fan of Lars' past work (as the included sound bite testifies), who passed away before being able to use the name himself. They're some of his catchiest songs yet, though, and anyone who figured Lars' shtick would be burnt out by now should probably rethink their stance. It's the type of fun that's stupid in a smart way, a geek badge worn with pride next to true respect for every influence that's being thrown together to create genuinely infectious tracks. These disparate influences are evident right away, yet never feel strained, from the victorious opening rap of "True Player for Real," his "self-referential introduction song," that boasts a love for Grandmaster Flash and Run-D.M.C., to the horn-rific title cut that details a gigantic robot taking out Orange County starlets in order to bring back the area's glory days of the '90s' third wave ska revival. As always, you've got to be up on post-millennial pop culture and fads to make sense of every phrase. But tucked in between uber-catchy melodies and burrow-in-your-head beats, there's luckily still plenty to enjoy outside of the smarmy lyrical jabs. It says something about MC Lars' skills, and ensures that This Gigantic Robot Kills rises above being just a set of rap-along tunes for those in the know.

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