July 27, 2011
Remember Nashville’s own bedroom-pop maestro Kyle Andrews and his catchy tune “You Always Make Me Smile” that was featured in that Holiday Inn commercial? Well he’s back with a full-length record, Robot Learn Love, via Elephant Lady on August 16th, and you’ll find yourself struggling to justify that phrase “bedroom” as you listen to it. On this album you’ll find a thick wash of synths, electronic drums, and layered/distorted vocals that catapult Andrews’ sound into another dimension. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’d venture to guess Mr. Andrews is a fan TN’s own Matt Mahaffey and his horribly underrated band Self. The influence is hard to miss if you’re a Self/Mahaffey fan like myself. In fact this album takes on many of the characteristics of Self’s last proper album Gizmodgery, which was recorded entirely using toy instruments (though it sounds fully fleshed-out, example below). You can hear what would seem to be toy-ish sounds sprinkled through various tracks on Robot Learn Love not to mention the lo-fi and other unorthodox recording techniques. It all pays off for Andrews as this record is his most realized effort to date. No mention of tour dates on his website, but if I had one major critique it would be his live shows. Andrews uses so much studio wizardry and layering of sounds on his albums, it’s hard to make that work in a live setting. Obviously you can’t recreate every nuance, but if you’re going to strip it down at all you’ve got to make it work. His live shows have always felt rather “meh” compared to the albums/EPs. But I recommend Robot Learn Love without hesitation.
And just for reference/fun:
Self-Dead Man (From Gizmodgery)