Music Reviews

Artist: The Sexbots (@)
Title: Junk Sick
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Basically, Portland, Oregon based trans-disciplinary artist Ilima Considine IS The Sexbots, with a little instrumental help from DJ Ceez, Qmulus and Stereospread here, and 'Junk Sick' is The Sexbots 3rd album to date. (Junk Sick is a term for the vomiting that accompanies heroin withdrawal.) Ilima is a classically trained violinist and cellist but you won't get any of that here. What you WILL get is an aural feast for retro-art-pop synthpop enthusiasts, with Considine cooing, moaning, and sometimes even orgasming in her Asian little girl voice over Nintendo/Casio style electronics and beats that will make you stop dead in your tracks and say 'WHAT is this? WHO is this? Where did this COME from?' That's how it struck my jaded ears.

In 'The Only Thing' little bleeps and burbles, synth pulses and electronic swirls float around her breathy child-like vocals. More muscular synths and beats are the backdrop for Ilima's emoting in 'My Job is To Make Love to Strangers'. This is sythpop like you've never heard before- raw, emotional, sexual, personal and riveting. The pace slows down with 'Magic Eyes' as Ilima coos her lyrics backed by what sounds like a chorus of softly meowing oriental kitties. The cats come out yowling in 'Sickness'; the first real clue that this album came about through a rough relationship breakup. 'Boy/Girl' explores playful androgynous sexuality. 'Every Soul' is tragic, emotionally wrought tale of a friend's drug overdose. If that one seemed emotionally wrought, 'Try Me' is even more intense. 'Water Under the Burning Bridge' is a mix of sweet innocence and lovelorn regret; basically sort of a bittersweet love song. I didn't even mind the (brief) male vocals in it. 'Petting a Cat' is just too cute in its metaphorical sexuality. 'You Get a Taste' sounds like an Asian children's march with more of Ilima's boudoir vocalizing. 'Willy on Willy' seems like an attempt to exorcise the ghost of a lost lover, recalling 'Sickness' to some extent.

Vocally, comparisons of Ilima to Bjork are inevitable, but really, there's only a slight resemblance in style, but a perhaps a larger one in emotional input. Bjork's voice is robust and her range covers about three octaves. Ilima's voice on the other hand has a much more fragile quality to it. No doubt though her 'Sexbot' style is somewhat unique. It not only conjures hentai fantasies in which you get to play voyeur, but also speaks to a deeper emotional level. Live and on video however, I don't believe Ilima's visual performance is anywhere near par of her musical prowess. Given time and money (buy the damn album already, it's well worth it), she may synthesize and synergize them both. In any case, it will be interesting to see what The Sexbots come up with next.

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