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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

These Robbers’ music is criminally good

    Like many if not most of you, I’m basically in love with Pandora Radio. The music recommendation site is easy to use, easy to customize, and, quite frankly, a contributing factor to my surviving some of the later nights here at the Trib office.

    "Tree City," RoHS's 2005 debut album. Photo via Watertown Music.

    But the thing I love most about Pandora, hands down, is when they find you a band that you might never have noticed, and it turns out to be across-the-board awesome. Like Robbers on High Street.

    As it turned out, I’d actually had a RoHS song tucked away in my iTunes account before I stumbled across them on Pandora — a sweet little cover of “Cool It Down” by ’80s band New Edition, that takes the song from Michael Jackson-sounding boy band fare to a slick, groovy piece of electronic glee — but as just one of many covers in a compilation album I’d picked up, it didn’t catch my ear.

    “Hudson Tubes,” on the other hand, caught it and didn’t let go. Opening with a series of piano chords that slam you up against the proverbial wall and dare you to fight back, the song is sheer toe-tapping magic from start to finish. The guitar bridges in the middle and end of the song are simple yet moving, like Buddhist koans in instrumental form. The singers shout out what can only be wolf howls at the end of their last verse. The only thing to dislike is that it clocks in at only two-and-a-half minutes of sonic glee.

    After hunting it down, I learned the album proper, 2005’s “Tree City,” is just as satisfying. I’ll admit it has to grow on you a bit more than the immediately appealing “Hudson Tubes,” but it’s worth the wait. From a bouncy yet bitter tirade against the heartless “Amanda Green” to the mellow groove and jive of “The Price & Style,” each song on the album carves out its own little niche, and the result is one of the more satisfying albums I’ve listened to in some time.

    Of course, there’s one big negative practically every reviewer jumped on after its initial release: The band’s sound is close enough to that of indie stars Spoon that they could probably double as impersonators. Personally, I think the difference is enough to make RoHS appreciable in their own right, but let’s face facts. Are you really going to complain about getting a little faux-Spoon in your diet? I didn’t think so.

    The best part about Robbers on High Street? Since I’m late to the party, there’s a whole ’nother album left for me to snag, 2007’s “Grand Animals,” and their third, tentatively titled “Hey There Golden Hair,” looks to be on its way as well. Until then, RoHS is keeping me interested with their latest single “Electric Eye” which you can check out below, along with a sampling of their other tunes.

    Electric Eye


    “Cool it Now,” both versions

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