Artist S├ębastien Laloue, the French mastermind of Brainsqueezed who has taken up residence in Australia has a wide palette on which to draw. 70s hard rock, 80s pop, and 90s alternative all have a place under his eclectic umbrella. The songs on his second full-length are wonderfully varied thanks to a diverse cast of musicians and Laloue's own musical proclivities. One influence that is undeniable is that classic of all classics, Dark Side of the Moon. Laloue's love of the record is on full display with vocalists, synths, and saxophone all emulating the legendary album's enigmatic jazz-rock sound at different points. Dark Side is almost a genre in and of itself and Laloue seems to be an unabashed practitioner of the craft.

The record begins with the 80s pop-rock vibe of 'More'. Laloue's primary vocalist in his rotating cast Marcello Vieira adopts a breathy George Michael-style pop delivery over the casually lifting verse. A playful harmonica dances throughout to the happy-go-lucky beat. The lead single 'Fears in the Night' links childhood fears with the apprehensions that we must live with throughout our lives. The track expands and occupies an aspirational space almost like grand projects like 'We Are the World'. The nods to Dark Side begin with the female summiting vocals in the track's outro that are descended from Clare Torry's vocal gymnastics in 'Great Gig in the Sky'. This leads directly into the warbling monophonic synth of 'I Will Walk... Again'. Churning filtered percussion flutters while Vieira leads a persistent crusade to recover. Eventually, a vocoder comes in to tie together the realms of the organic and the digital. A wearied harpsichord plays us out.

'Run' begins with much influence from the electric piano and brutally honest confessional style of 90s trip-hop, evolving to a wistful ballad. Second-ringer vocalist Audrey Karrasch plays for the heartstrings over a typical chord structure that almost turns pop-country by the end. The Broadway-esque verses of 'It Tears Me Apart' are cut with clubby electronics in a fusion that works surprisingly well. Vieira returns to stretch out his vocal range in this showpiece.

Laloue and co. pay direct tribute to The Pink Floyds with the tribute 'Dawn (Song for Richard Wright)' the soaring guitar heroics and angelic backing chorale are sonic refractions of Floyd classic 'Us and Them'. Some heavy alternative hubris comes marching in on 'Taking Lives' with Laloue's guitar finding darker chords and Vieira's voice dropping from pop croon to power metal. Like Freddy Mercury at Queen's most dark and dangerous moments. 'Give Up the Fight' takes on a gospel tone for the album's penultimate statement, a twisting tale of our angels and demons.

For the finale, 'Black Summer 2019-2020' takes us back to a time before COVID-19 had ravaged the world when Laloue's now home of Australia was engulfed in raging wildfires. The volume of the news may have been muted across the world when the pandemic hit but for Australia, the effects still remained. A newscaster's recap is overtaken by the swampy Deep Purple-like blues of the band. Hugo Lee unleashes a powerful saxophone solo over the group's musical expression of frustration, fear, and helplessness. The 8+ minute epic crackles and sizzles with anxious energy. Strings, organ, and chugging guitar all swell together for the album's affecting curtain.

I Am Not a Robot is a warm, emotional journey through a range of fears and triumphs. Laloue changes gears with great facility and his lofty guitar leads tie the album together into one flowing piece. Though the Pink Floyd influence is pervasive throughout the album, it never feels contrived. This is music that has descended from one of the greatest pieces of music in our lifetimes.

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