Rock was officially declared dead the moment Sharon Osbourne put her lot in with the Cowel-cash-cow and became responsible for the homogenized dilution and decimation of all things one could reasonably bang one’s hat-rack with devil horns thrown high to.
Since then anything entering the charts has come across as cynical high-street repro-rock, each band a check-list of clichéd cookie-cutter clones referring to their How To instruction book to ensure man-scara is correctly applied and the couldn’t-care-less slouch of dis-interest is affected in the proper manner.
Now3 more commercial than an advert for Maccy’s sponsored by Coke, it is to the internet those who seek a fat-free slice of fried gold spinning on the digital decks of their iPods, with a gladdening of the heart and hopefulness of the soul we find the exponents of rock’s soon-to-be greats in the substantial palatial offering of some mighty meaty music by rockers and rulers of the riff The Void.
Having kicked the teeth out the mouth of moribund music with solo offerings Play. Make. Believe and Acoustic/This Record Is Not Blu-Ray ‘Void founder and vision maker Jon Vornbrock turned what had been mere side-project musings into high-gear greatness, the album Robot Space Love bringing Dean Wilson, Jonny Little and Rob Cooper into the world of wonder Vornbrock revealed and reveling the freedom within.
Filling each of the eleven tracks on offer with enough hooks for a dozen amateur re-enactments of Peter Pan RSL immediately draws you in with a curious sensation of insinuation-through-song, the drawing out of a single note feeding back building to a crescendo that puts you firmly on the edge of a desirable frustration.
Measured and drawn there’s a sense of The Void preparing you for even greater things on album opener Wave Machine, a considered pacing of rhythm and occasional explosions of vocals the perfect toe-dipper song; it shows everything the band are about to drown your senses with without overplaying their status as musicians nor attempting to fit every good riff into the first number on the album.
Temptation assured and desire acquired the album then hits you with Planets Will Fall, an exceptional slice of the old fried gold; for those who favor the flavor of Aerosmithanthemic awesome sans high-street cheese PWF grabs the number one spot on my personal playlist and refuses to let go.
Double-stops, incidental riffage, and cymbals the drummer isn’t afraid to hit when the occasion demands, it’s songs such as this the band will still be playing when embarking on their 20 year anniversary world tour.
Everyone brings the emotion of a charging army and unjustly spurned lover to deliver a soundtrack for the next revolution; the drums rolling a beat seemingly designed to coincide with the rushing feet of a mass body aimed at the bulls-eye of injustice, the vocals perfectly timed to empower the force of the ruler’s fall at the hands of his estranged subjects with each imaginary blow landing square and true.
Robot Song From Robot Son calls for calm in the proceedings, a laconic delivery hinting at brooks babbling on the edge of freshly cut fields, reflection on the mind and consideration of the heart soothing the troubles of the soul. Such troubles that soon become apparent, the mood darkening and becoming a passionately electric release, turning the babble into a swell and the fields into scarred battle-grounds, the listener now a witness to all that has fallen and been turned to waste.
Summer and Knife To The Heart are pure crowd moving manna, the surge of the guitar building the moshpit and screaming vocals delivered with a commanders certainly almost guaranteed to get the elbows and knees flying ‘midst the devil horns and hair.
What begins as an apparent ode of solace to the songs namesake Lucy is to RSL what Don’t Cry was to UYI; a smorgasbord of deeply emotional extravagance, nothing held back nor apologized as the band deliver what is simply captivating genius. Cries and chords ring out and proud, a mushroom-cloud enveloping the audience and smothering the landscape with a saturation of sound. Self-indulgent? Maybe; but I would wager you would be hard pressed to find a reason why that is such a bad thing for The Void to be accused of once hearing the track for yourself.
Love and Distortion and Free are more melancholic musings , the former an acoustic driven dalliance decorated with electric punctuation, the latter a more moodier tempering with a drawn out beat, a soupcon of Smashing Pumpkins, and a chance to hear the depth of range vocalist Jon holds under his chordal control.
My Days Are Numbered has a more indie-rock feel, verging on grunge in places with punctuated vocals, raw guitars and cymbals breaking the background down into a shoe-gazing gravitas, hints of Jimmy Page lurking around the edges of the guitar and controlling the whole nicely.
Ending on Love Trips sends us off with a encouraging farewell and an open invitation to return, a very Soul Asylum inferring sound that closes the album with just the right level of charged emotion to leave us feeling satisfied and fulfilled yet replete enough to consider finding room for another helping.
With the lyrics ‘I need you’ reminding us of the open-arms that await us upon our return Robot Space Love draws to a close, your ears already missing the music and your thumb twitching toward the repeat button.
It’s sometimes hard to see what’s missing until someone takes the time to point it out, and for the rock genre we should be thankful of The Void and Robot Space Love for being that much needed reminder.
5 stars out of 5