Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ghost Robot Ninja Bear - S/T


“Ah Vegas.  There is nothing like the Strip when it comes to staging extravagant events or promotions.  Welcome everyone!  We’re coming to you live from inside the WGW Large resort and casino where a capacity crowd is on hand to witness the dramatic conclusion of what has been a fantastic week of technological mayhem.  Thirty two teams entered this prestigious competition, and now only two remain.  The first, Team Megasoft, is made up of veteran competitors who have dominated this event in years past.  The other, Team Ripple, literally came out of nowhere to reach the finals in their first Vegas appearance.  Let’s find out a little more about these exciting newcomers from our own Tony Shrugged who is standing by with Team Ripple’s spokesman, Mr. Penfold.  Tony?”

“Thanks Ken.  Mr. Penfold, thanks for taking the time to talk with us.  I know you’re busy preparing for the title bout.”
“Oh, it’s no problem Tony.  I think Team Ripple is as prepared as we can be.”
“That’s good to hear Penfold.  So tell me, where does Team Ripple come from?”
“Well our base of operations is in California, but the members of our team are scattered around geographically speaking.”
“What made you all want to enter this competition?”
“Truthfully we have wanted to take part in this competition for some time.  However, this was the first year that we felt we could bring a competitive entry to the table.”
“A competitive entry Mr. Penfold?  I’d say so.  Your robot quickly and efficiently demolished everything in its path on Team Ripple’s road to the finals.”
“Thank you very much Tony.  Team Ripple is incredibly proud of the work we put in to building our robot, and I think our efforts have paid off thus far.”
“I’d say so Mr. Penfold.  Handsomely.  One last question.  Have we seen everything your robot is capable of, or is Team Megasoft in for a surprise during the finals?”
“Trying to make me divulge our fight plans Tony?  Come now, I won’t answer that.  But I will tell you that Team Ripple may have an ace up our sleeve.  You’ll just have to wait and see like everyone else.”
“Ha!  It’s your first year and you’re already acting like a seasoned pro.  Thank you Mr. Penfold.  Good luck to Team Ripple in the finals.  Back to you in the broadcast booth Ken.”

Skip ahead to the actual battle after all the pyrotechnics and introductory video montages.  Team Ripple’s robot facing off against Team Megasoft’s robot inside the dodecahedron, the multi-edged circle.  The shape of Team Megasoft’s combatant could most easily be described as a giant wedge, whereas Team Ripple’s electronic gladiator was ursine in nature, with four reinforced limbs supporting a large mouth used to crush objects.  The fight began.  Team Megosoft’s wedge quickly maneuvered around the side of its opponent and extended an arm causing Team Ripple’s robot bear to fall on its side.  The members of Team Megasoft were all looking very smug, smiling and high fiving each other in an effort to taunt the members of Team Ripple standing beside them.  That smugness quickly vanished when the robot bear flipped itself back upright, raised itself upon its hind legs, and disappeared.  The crowd was instantly silenced.  Seconds later Team Ripple’s robot bear uncloaked itself behind Team Megasoft’s wedge.  It delivered a vicious karate chop that split the oversized wedge in half.  Sparks flew every which way, and the crowd went wild.  A chant started up and quickly spread to all those in attendance.  Ghost – Robot – Ninja – Bear!

Waveriders.  Fighting in the green, yellow, and teal trunks out of Brooklyn, New York…it’s Ghost Robot Ninja Bear.  This band is here to bring their stellar rock and roll vibes directly to your waiting ears.  And folks, let me come right out and state the obvious (obvious to me at least).  With a name like Ghost Robot Ninja Bear, I was going to be extremely upset if the music on this album was sub par.  You can’t come up with a moniker that would take first place in the ‘Awesome Band Name Olympics’ and then fail to support it with good music!  It’s a rule…and you must never break the rules.

As stated before Ghost Robot Ninja Bear is from Brooklyn, New York.  The main man behind this musical heavyweight is vocalist/guitarist Oscar Albis Rodriguez.  Veteran waveriders might recognize this gentleman as one of the members of Nakatomi Plaza, a band who received a glowing review on The Ripple Effect back in January of 2010.  The other talented musicians that make up Ghost Robot Ninja Bear are Geoff Kraly on bass, Gunnar Olsen on drums, and Jordan Melkin on guitar.  Together, these four men and the occasional guest produce rock music with strong currents of punk and indie rock working together to create an ear pleasing sonic gumbo.  The liner notes make a special point of declaring that the band’s recorded output was produced with minimal editing.  All I can say is that I approve of this decision.  The songs sound fantastic to my ears, and the lack of overproduction gives the music an honest, trustworthy feel.

Not only are these songs ear pleasing, they are compositionally varied as well.  Album opener “The Curtain Call” does a great job of setting the scene with compelling clean vocals, aggressive in your face guitars, smooth yet complicated bass lines, and very tasteful drumming that offers loads of musical backbone without ever becoming too busy.  “Watching Me Watching You” sees the band lift slightly off the throttle controlling song tempos before launching into some epic sing along choruses.  “I Can’t Decide” is really quite beautiful and soothing.  That being said when the band wants to flex its muscles the volume spikes and a wave of guitars sweep the listener away.  “Swamps Of Nova” has an irresistible down-home charm to it, and I would go so far as to say that the whole song has a certain ‘twang’.  “Pilots” is of special note not only because it is by far the most aggressive, riff-tastic song on the album, but also because it comes as a complete shock when the song’s growled vocals assault your eardrums.  They sound great juxtaposed against the clean vocals also present in the song, but man oh man, can a listener get a little warning?  Last but not least, just when you think you’ve got this band figured out they hit you with a killer instrumental (“In The Helium Mines”).  Can you ask for more?  I think not.

Here is the bottom line waveriders.  Ghost Robot Ninja Bear is not just a rock band with an extraordinarily awesome name.  No.  Ghost Robot Ninja Bear is an exceptional rock band with an extraordinarily awesome name!  Fans of punk, indie, or just plain old great rock and roll should not hesitate to pick up this album.  You will be richly rewarded.

--Penfold



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