Robot Rock (BEC Recordings)
Joy Electric

By Robert Gruber

Since his days as 0ne-half of the now-legendary band Dancehouse Children, Ronnie Martin has created music you either love or hate -- no middle ground here. A pioneer in Christian electronica, Martin has, in recent years, abandoned samplers and drum machines for what he considers to be the more "pure" sound of ancient Moog synthesizers. Striving to create the perfect pop song, Robot Rock is Joy Electric's most accessible endeavor to date. As such, some middle ground may be opening up -- one might possibly get away with playing more than just a snippet of Robot Rock before being asked to turn it off.

Robot sounds abound, enough bleeps and bloops to score the new "Lost In Space" flick. Beneath the sound effects, though, Martin has crafted some clever and catchy melodies. Lyrically, he seems quite confident that his synthesizer music is the true wave of the future, addressing detractors head-on in "Robot Beat":

"Punk boys make the claim/"this is not my style" is what they all say

Rock rules state the same (we don't care), turn the tape machine up to eleven, we're back with the robot beat....we are the sound of tomorrow."

Though few of the songs are openly evangelical in nature, most deal with love in a positive, sunshiney-spiritual kinda way. If you dug the sounds of Soft Cell and the Human League back in the 80s, or if you like the synthetic creations of Kraftwerk or Daft Punk, Robot Rock is definitely for you. On the other hand, if your radio dial is welded to the classic rock station, Robot Rock will likely drive you to acts of insane violence. You should probably skip this one.