On their second full-length record, Grand Animals, Robbers On High Street took their pop chops to a new level with lush arrangements and new sounds.
It's obvious the band was looking for a new approach to recording when they recruited Daniele Luppi to produce the album. Luppi is most widely known for his string/horn arrangements and keyboard playing on Gnarls Barkley's multi-platinum debut, St. Elsewhere.
Robbers On High Street's jangly pop sound and Luppi's knack for arrangements makes Grand Animals a satisfying listen. The songs "The Fatalist," "Kick 'em In the Shins" and "Married Young" have that distinct jangly Robbers sound while the rest of the tunes venture out in to more lush arrangements.
"Crown Victoria" features some cool, 60s pop organ sounds while "The Ramp" is a mellow piano tune that would make Brian Wilson take notice. The strummy acoustics and reverb-soaked slide guitar on "Your Phantom Walks the Hall" evokes images of floating on a cloud. "Guard at Your Heel" is a waltz tune accented by tuba that doubles the bass guitar and a pizzicato mandolin that evokes images of sailing on a gondola in Italy.
The album's diverse instrument choices and arrangements are all held together by the impeccable pop melodies of lead singer Ben Trokan. He may be young, but he can write a song. Grand Animals is quite a leap from the band's previous album, Tree City, but they didn't meander. The album is a concise pop record that may seem scattered when analyzed, but is a solid piece of work from a budding young band.
Robbers On High Street will play Local 506 on October 23 with Great Northern and The Shaky Hands. The show is at 9 p.m. and tickets are available in advance via etix.com.