Let It Beep is an interesting title for Tennessee quintet Royal Bangs‘ sophomore effort, but it only tells part of the story. A much more explanatory moniker would’ve been Let It Beep, Bang, Crash, Bounce…. and Rock. Coming across like a younger, more focused Flaming Lips (particularly on the evidence of this year’s Embryonic), they five-piece manage to combine soaring guitar symphonies, quirky pop melodies and frantic electronica into one seriously engrossing whole.
From the galloping -Poison Control’ to the relentless -War Bells’, the dancefloor bothering -Brainbow’ (like Hot Hot Heat at their best) to the punk noir of -Shit Xmas’, Ryan Schaefer and friends prove they’ve enough ideas for a dozen Young Scientists’ exhibitions. They’re not afraid to cross-pollinate from genre to genre, demonstrating equal dexterity at angular math-rock and -80s-inflected synth pop, as proficient at bittersweet clap-alongs (-E+e’) as they are at instrumental wig-outs (-1993′), sometimes in the same three-minute song (-Gorilla King’).
Clocking in at just 39 minutes, Let It Beep would have been perfect for one side of a C-90 in the old days when home taping was killing music: today, it’s a relatively short but extremely welcome shock to the system, bursting at the seams with interesting ideas and infectious melodies.