Monday, January 26, 2009

MC Lars - This Gigantic Robot Kills Review

Posting this here because I don't know if the website I wrote this for will post it. Call this review a conflict of interest? Maybe, but I liked it so here it is.

What’s a review of a nerdcore rapper doing on ******? Well, if you’ve listened to MC Lars’s previous release “The Gradute”, then you would know that “MC Lars is more punk than you.” More and more these days we see punk selling out, going commericial, and blending into mass consumer-culture. Contrasting this spirit is MC Lars (“DIY ‘til I die”), producing his own songs on his laptop and releasing his own records. If that’s not punk, then I don’t know what is. But now onto the review.

TGRK is easily MC Lars’s most solid album yet. If you need an intro to nerdcore but aren’t sure if it’s you’re style, then this is the album you need to listen to. It’s got the nerdcore spirit, but it rocks out too. It kicks off with “Where Ya Been Lars”, a quick tune to get you acquainted with the man who is MC Lars. And then it kicks into “True Player For Real” with the sickest accordion jam you’ve ever heard (by none other than the only Weird Al Yankovic).

This album’s got the big names too, song after song featuring names such as Weird Al Yankovic, Daniel Dart of Time Again, Donal Finn of Flash Bastard, Pierre Bouviere of Simple Plan, MC Bat Commander of The Aquabats, Suburban Legends, and nerdcore godfather MC Frontalot. But MC Lars owns the show in every song. His vocals blend and flow so well, and the big names are not a gimmick.

One of the top tracks on this album is the title track “This Gigantic Robot Kills”. Lars shows his flexibility as he launches into the first ever nerdcore ska song. With the MC Bat Commander of the Aquabats providing epic vocals on the chorus and Suburban Legends providing phat bumpin’ brass, you hear the story of Billy as he build a ska robot to chase away spoilt kids from shows like “Laguna Beach”. And who can’t love a concept like that?

For those who don’t know, Lars graduated from Stanford with an English studies major, so of course we get to hear of the strumpet from Shakespeare’s Hamlet in “Hey There Ophelia”. If you never read the play, here’s a pretty good review of the story set to some heavy riffs and a searing chorus. Gamers out there will appreciate “O.G. Original Gamer” and “Guitar Hero Hero (Beating Guitar Hero Does Not Make You Slash)”. There’s even a song for you metric fans out there, “(Lord It's Hard to Be Happy When You're Not Using) the Metric System”.

Seriously, every song on this album is amazing, with the exception of “Twenty Three”, which tells the tale of a friend of Lars’s that committed suicide. It’s a nice song with a sad story, but sticking it in the middle of an album that is nothing but fun seems kinda out of place. Otherwise, every song is just upbeat, fun, and bound to make you laugh.

If you’re not a nerdcore rap fan or not, you’ll still appreciate this album for what it is. With the spirit of a DIY punk band and some of the raddest rhymes you’ve heard, it’s such a good blend that will make you laugh and think at the same time. Don’t just blow it off because of what you think of the genre, this is one of the most solid releases of the year.