Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Bots Break Out From Pink Palms

The BotsLos Angeles rock duo The Bots recorded their first album together at ages 15 and 12 and never looked back. Their brand of garage punk picked up just enough throaty blues and ballad tradition to turn hearts and heads with a cross-genre catchiness that defies and mesmerizes.

Now, at ages 20 and 17, Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei have produced their most powerful album to date. Pink Palms is a dizzying dash across garage punk and indie transcendence. Never mind that they wear influences like The White Stripes and The Black Keys on their sleeves. The Lei brothers are writing a story that will carry them forward for several decades ahead.

Pink Palms is expressly diverse and unapologetically raw.

The chugs, hooks, riffs, and misdirections give Pink Palms an unpredictable exploratory vibe. Much of it plays out like the Lei brothers were kicking and building upon little bits just to see what they could lay down and produce. The result is almost always catchy, sometimes clever, and occasionally a cut above.

Having already self-released three albums, completed two Vans Warped Tours, and supported the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (among others), their experience as craftsmen and performers is apparent. They open with Ubiquitous, an authentic and honest rage against the always-on atmosphere of loneliness.

Three tracks down, All I Really Want pulls back the gauze on kids waiting around for something to happen. But that what happens doesn't always have to be all that. It's just about a girl or something.

The live video was captured in The Current's studio before a gig at the Nether Bar At Mill City Nights. The live version captures all the riffs, chugs, and glory of the track but skips out on the spoken poetry that accompanies the album version. Also missing is the creepiness of the echoes.

“While a lot of different music we were listening to inspired this album, it was the time in the studio we spent together writing and creating that had the biggest impact on Pink Palms," Anaiah Lei has said about the album. And that's easy to believe given that it was produced by Justin Warfield with an assist from Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs).

Working down the album, take in the purposeful grungy buzz of Blinded, the rolling rocker All Of Them (Wide Awake), and the West Coast punk punchy Alanna. Alongside these energized tracks is another side of The Bots with a gentle and dreamily atmospheric appeal. Check out Wet Blanket, Bad Friends, and Side Effects as the Lei brothers dive deep into that ballad tradition contrast.

It's those tracks, the whispers, that win over anyone holding off from becoming fans of The Bots. Take the off-album video No One Knows, for instance. While played out with a faster pace than the ballads on Pink Palms, there is a gentleness to the brothers that seems tappable any time they want to tap it.

At the same time, they counter every caress with something much punchier and sharper. Silhouettes, despite lacking some energy in the chorus, is one of those tracks that reminds doubters that these boys are a bit more than a boy band. While the studio version is probably the weakest track, expect it to become much more popular during their live performances. Imagine it with the veracity of Won.

Pink Palms By The Bots Picks Up 7.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Although The Bots easily earns a place on any bands to watch list, Pink Palms can be a bit frustrating at times because some tracks sound like a work in progress. Sometimes that is the problem with create-and-compose in-studio albums. Sooner or later somebody has to yell cut and you put down something despite knowing it will be infinitely better with age.

You can find Pink Palms by The Bots on Amazon. The 11-track album is also available for download on iTunes. For vinyl, check The Bots out at Barnes & Noble. For touring information and upcoming appearances, visit The Bots on Facebook.
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