Spaztic Robot is the new project by Robbie Sparks (the vocalist and guitarist for Stourbridge punk band Rebel City Radio), and his solo work is very different from that with the band.
By Jane Howkins
Whereas Rebel City Radio play fast and frenetic punk music, the music on Skip Rope Rhymes has more in common with industrial rock, with a lot of electronic elements thrown into the mix.
It’s really interesting to be able to hear such a different side to Sparks’ musicality, and it’s clear from the off that he is a music lover with a lot of very different influences. It’s also suitably weird, in tone and style. That might put a few people off listening, but it’s worth a punt, and it will grow on you over time. Some of the songs are a little harder to get into, so we recommend trying out Confetti Crowns first, which is one of the more poppy songs on the album and one that sounds very beautiful. There’s also a slowed down cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s (Don’t Fear) The Reaper which is great, and very creepy.
It’s the weirdness that attracts us to a lot of the stuff on Skip Rope Rhymes. There are so many different things going on here and it very much seems as though Sparks has created these songs for himself and himself only which, if we’re honest, is the way one should really create music. Sparks says that the album was in part inspired by an experience he had when he was nine years old, when he encountered two dead dogs on different ends of a street. The event seems to have had an effect on him and inspired him to write these songs, which really speaks to how strange some of these songs truly are.
For the most part that’s a good kind of odd and these tracks are worth checking out, if only because they give a suitable glimpse into the problem of the human condition. We also recommend checking out Sparks’ main band Rebel City Radio if you are ever in the West Midlands, as they are fairly good too!
Skip Rope Rhymes by Spaztic Robot is available now.