Army of Robots | Secret to Everybody (self-released)

The best way to describe AOR’s sound is to imagine if Moby dropped acid and hung out with members of Depeche Mode and Gravity Kills.

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Arizona has always been a mythical state. It is stuck out in the middle of nowhere, but every now and then produces a kickass band like the Refreshments or Gin Blossoms. Now trying to make their way out of the desert and into the mainstream is Tucson’s latest—and greatest—band, Army of Robots.

The best way to describe AOR’s sound is to imagine if Moby dropped acid and hung out with members of Depeche Mode and Gravity Kills. Their sound is a throwback to ’80s new wave with bits and pieces of techno pop and some hard-rock flavor crystals. The first time I listened to Secret to Everybody, I was on the fence; I couldn’t decide if this group was full of crap or if they were on the verge of something great. A few dozen spins later, I was fully on board with AOR and their unique sound.

The group’s lead singer, Daggrr (arguably the coolest name ever for a lead singer) manages to keep his voice as monotone as possible—which, oddly, isn’t annoying. His unaffected vocals strangely fit both the cold, sterile drumbeats as well as the hard-driving rock rhythms. The fact that AOR can’t seem to make up its mind concerning what genre to fall into kept luring me back for more.

The collection of songs on Secret to Everybody could be compared to a musical potpourri: There’s a little something for everybody. There are the techno-babble sonnets (“Too Close,” “Backstage Eyes”), the straightforward rockers (“The Heaviest Cure,” “Gold Star”), and even a few ballads to boot (“The Honesty of Fear,” “Let Go”). The cornucopia of songs represented on this album simply proves that AOR is not a one-trick pony; their ability to mix things up is refreshing and stimulating.

AOR’s mighty morphin’ ability, however, could be a sword that cuts both ways—either cementing you as a fan for life or sending you screaming back to the safe confines of formulaic, mainstream rock. The factor that pushed me to the “fan for life” side was their undeniable passion for remarkable music. When it comes to choosing songs to load onto my iPod, I will always chose interesting bands with passion over those who “just get through the song.” (Stacy Q, you are on notice!) If AOR is nothing else, they are undeniably MP3-worthy.

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