Future Bible Heroes

The Lonely Robot

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The Lonely Robot has two new tracks from Stephin Merritt, Christopher Ewen, and Claudia Gonson's band, Future Bible Heroes, plus five remixes of tracks from FBH's last record, Eternal Youth. Of the two new songs, "The DJ From Outer Space," is a disappointingly melody-free electronic piece that just kind of rumbles along for three minutes doing nothing, The other track, "The Lonely Robot," is much more successful yet still pretty inessential, as it is a charmingly silly tune about robots that has Gonson speaking a goofy monologue over some bubbling synths and clattering percussion. The rest of the disc features three mixes of one of Eternal Youth's best songs, "Losing Your Affection," an extended version of "I'm a Vampire," and a club mix of "The World Is a Disco Ball." The "Client on Demand" mix of "Losing Your Affection" is dancefloor-oriented, strips away the melody, and instead focuses on the beat. Unfortunately, it feels sluggish and undanceable. The "Sunroof" mix consists of an increasingly annoying metallic rhythm pulse above which Gonson's angelic voice hovers like an angel, delivering the wonderful Merritt lyrics with a barely restrained glee. You only wish she could turn off that damn noise that sounds like a combination of a tornado warning siren and someone beating on your head with a club. When the tone finally wavers and shifts a bit at the three-minute mark and some subtle drums kick in, it's an amazing relief, though not as great as the relief you feel when the song is finally over. The third mix of the track is by Soft Cell, and while they don't do anything spectacular, at least they don't do anything annoying. The best version of the song is by far the original. The same applies to the Rob Rives mix of "The World Is a Disco Ball" and the extended mix of "I'm a Vampire." Stick to the originals on Eternal Youth and leave this to the Merritt completists.

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