Review: Various Artists – Botpop Vol. 1

The manifesto of Happy Robots Records is simple: “to highlight the best in melodic, optimistic, electronic forward-looking “pop” music”. It’s a worthwhile quest which has already witnessed some cute vintage synth-pop courtesy of Arthur and Martha. ‘Botpop Vol. 1’ showcases eleven other acts who adhere to the Happy Robots mantra.


The compilation gets off to a fantastic start courtesy of Sweden’s ‘The Bridal Shop’. It’s an energetic hook-filled song which follows a New Order mid-80s template before bursting into a thrilling chorus. To follow a song of such power was aways going to be a tough act to follow and not many of the artists featured thereafter come close to this brilliance but there are certainly some notable contributions and each artist is successful in concentrating on the tune rather than the technology.

Another Swedish act, Television Keeps Us Apart, provide a sweetly nostalgic offering that reminded me distinctly of Buggles. Elika’s ‘Let Down’ (whose excellent debut EP I reviewed earlier in the year) successfully marries strident Madonna-esque to more vibrant electro-pop whereas The Coal Daughters’ would-be outer-space theme is an experimental, haunting affair. Overall it’s a decent collection of songs even though many of the artists involved seem to be reliving the past rather than looking towards the future.

Web Sites:
Happy Robots Records Site
Happy Robots Records MySpace

Further Listening:
Elika, The Bridal Shop, Television Keeps Us Apart


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