Ima Robot Monument to the Masses

Listening to Ima Robot’s mishmash of pop punk and new wave you’d never know that in the ’90s the band’s main players were rappers. On their sophomore record their roots rarely show — it’s almost all slick, amped-up rock. Ima Robot’s main attraction is their schizophrenic sound. They flawlessly move from Billy Talent-like screamo pop on "The Beat” to their Killers imitation on "Eskimo Ride.” For the most part this diversity keeps things interesting and shows Ima Robot’s range, but on a few occasions, such as the "Lola” sounding "Lovers in Captivity” their ambition gets the better of them (and what’s with the fake British accent?). While the album’s structure is worth noting, the songs themselves aren’t worth a second take. "Chip off the Old Block” is an annoying, radio-friendly power pop tune, while "Cool Cool Universe,” the only song that harkens back to the band’s rap days, is an uncomfortably obnoxious track about war, the evil American government and all the other things that makes life suck. Ima Robot should keep the ambition, but lose the cheesy songwriting. (Virgin/EMI)