May 30, 2014

Names are deceiving—Australia is an Italian duo who sings simple, cheeky lyrics in slightly accented English. This debut release features blown-out vocals buried under arpeggiated synth leads and palm-muted chords that chug poppily away through the verses. “­It Will Be” is an early standout, a danceable garage number that might have been a dirtier Strokes demo. But the tracks begin to drag toward the end of the EP, lapsing into rambling fuzz rock that seems to lose its way amidst the distortion. This kind of noisy pop works best in short, infectious bursts, and I just wish some of the songs on Robotended a repeated chorus or two closer to the two-minute mark. Crackling fuzz saturates every layer of the recording, growing a little tiresome and grating as the EP wears on. Fortunately, the post-punk wistfulness of “Two Distant Beds” comes as a welcome relief to finish things off. The slapdash CD-R presentation—jpegged-out print job and all—isn’t doing Robot a ton of favors, but apparently a cassette version exists somewhere in the world that might better suit this decent lo-fi release. 

 –Indiana Laub (Self-released)