The Sex Robots

(Roadhouse Tunes)

Aug 18, 2010 at 4:00 am

The local music community shed a little tear when Mario Viele moved from St. Louis to New York City. As the leader of the Sex Robots, guitarist for the Pubes and regular deputy in Bunnygrunt, he had his hand in some of the city's best quick-and-dirty rock & roll. Viele's working as a studio engineer with Eric "Roscoe" Ambel in New York — he even contributed some guitarwork for a Martha Wainwright project she recorded with the well-respected producer — but he hasn't forgotten his local ties. Alongside long-time bandmates Maysam Attaran (drums) and Tracey Morrissey (bass), Viele recorded Nightmoves, the latest Sex Robots disc. At ten songs and 24 minutes, the disc isn't a huge step outside the band's Converse-treaded footprint. Rather, it's a reminder of what the band did so well in its regular gigs around town.

The joke with Viele's bands is that the players' skills go beyond their sophomoric names and quick, three-chord punk licks; these are talented musicians playing simple songs very well. But right away on Nightmoves, his guitar chops distinguish themselves from past releases. "Cold Cold Heart" trades chugging rhythm for a surprisingly lyrical solo with gothic overtones, thanks to a chorus effect. Later, "Not Gonna Take My Heart" sounds like a snotty revision on a Modern Lovers song, by mixing a summery shuffle with a strident chorus. The whole disc is solid, with few gaps and no filler, but stick around until the end for "She Wants to Kill Me." Clocking in at an epic (for the Sex Robots) 3:30, the booming floor toms signal like cannon shots for Viele's sweetly ragged vocals and the sha-na-na chorus.