Hexstatic - When Robots Go Bad
Given the glut of recent electronic albums, it was inevitable that at least one would underwhelm. Sadly, Hexstatic's When Robots Go Bad falls squarely into this category. The duo have here crafted something more akin to a cross between Groove Armada and Richard X's twitchy throwbacks to 80s electro (minus the big name guest vocalists) than the current scene's harder fringe sounds.
Nevertheless, there is the obligatory Justice imitation (Bust), tacked on as an equivalent to name-dropping; were it a fake watch, it would stop ticking within three days. Practically every tune here owes a debt (often a third world country-sized one) to something far superior. Move On is just average electro-tinged r'n'b and Newton's Cradle is Kraftwerk with atmospherics that sound nicked from Ultravox's Vienna. Despite being a Goldfrapp sex-pop clone, Roll Over fare's better, as does the chilled, breakbeat-styled TLC.
Hexstatic's approach here is too workmanlike, especially when many pundits consider dance music to be going through a period of resurgence. These robots aren't bad exactly, more half-arsed.