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  Amp On Fire  
  Do the Robot  
  Valve Records  
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Do the Robot is a strange little band from Australia. They are a husband and wife duo that list themselves on their MySpace page only as Mr. and Mrs. Deasy, but apparently they have a drummer as well. Amp On Fire is their first record, which came out last year, but i only just heard about it. Supposedly they have a new record out as well, but i haven't heard that one yet. I say "yet" because there is a good chance that i will hear their new record. There is a lot to like in Amp On Fire, and i am interested in seeing where this band goes next.

The first thing of interest is the vocals. Mrs. Deasy (who's first name is Sera) kind of talks her words, which are a repetitive, almost stream-of-consciousness spoken banter. Her lyrical style reminds me a lot of Sue Tompkins from Life Without Buildings. There is a similar sort of repetition, of vocally playing with the sounds of the words repeated, but not really sung. However, at a few moments here and there, Mrs. Deasy does let loose and sing, such as on the epic album closer In the Shadows. It turns out that Mrs. Deasy has a way with melody, and when she sings rather than speaks it sounds quite lovely.

All praise to Mrs. Deasy aside, it is the work of her husband Matthew that really draws me to this band. Mr. Deasy's guitarwork is spacey and echoing. His strumming chimes under layers of distortion, referencing such things as Magic Bullets, Robin Guthrie, and even the early work of his countryman Peter Koppes (specifically the stuff Koppes was playing on Sťance and Heyday). Now, anyone who has read this site for a little while will know that i am a sucker for this type of guitarwork, and i find that i can sit and listen to his playing for hours. If you like spacey, distorted guitar, then there is a lot to like here.

I feel i would be remiss in not mentioning the work of the third band member, drummer Derrin Cason. He drums with a light touch, a scattering of percussion that accompanies the guitar and voice, shepherding them along, but never hurrying. I hate to stick with comparison to other Aussies, but his playing does remind me of Jim White from The Dirty Three.

All three combine rather well on Amp On Fire. Highlights include In the Shadows, an eleven and a half minute wandering tune that reminds me of some of the spacier work of The Stratford 4; and Audrey, where Mrs. Deasy chants the album title as the guitar chimes and the drums keep a happy little beat. Also of note is Tambourine Beach, where Mrs. Deasy really lets loose with her pipes, belting out the words. Lovely.

I am suitably impressed with what i hear going on with Do the Robot. Now, i know that others might not be so impressed. If this type of guitarwork doesn't rock your world, then you might find these songs too minimal and boring. And Mrs. Deasy's vocal style is somewhat odd, and many people might dislike it. So be forewarned. I wonder what that new record sounds like?

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