The initial few EPs from Les Robots were immediately exciting: they were bar-none the best modern Joe Meek sound-alike that I'd heard. Thankfully, they didn't keep us waiting for long to hear a full-length, and I think it delivers on the promise of those EPs.
A big part of the reason I invoke Meek here is the prominent clavioline, a signature ingredient of the sound of The Tornados, The Moontrekkers and the like. That electric honk is so weird and strange, and yet very rare in later instro music. I have a hunch that the instrument itself is pretty rare.
But Les Robots are not a straight Meek mimic. They don't really make an attempt to capture that otherworldly recording quality, and the resulting record is pretty hi-fi and guitars are loud, proud and clear to an extent that Meek groups rarely go. "Big Trouble in Outer Space" for instance ends with a wild guitar frenzy, played in a bright, mostly un-effected tone. And there's a "chicken" styled song, so that's kind of all you need to know about whether guitar is a presence on this record.
Speaking of tone, "The Remote Control Stomp" feels like guitar and clavioline might be playing in lock-step transforming into one strange instrument. I also love the solos played by just two notes on the clavioline.
And that's really the thing that they nail here that honestly very few instro groups figure out: big ideas boiled down to simple result. That is often what's going on in so many of the surf classics. These are great songs with fun, easy-to-follow, easy-to-remember melodies and riffs, but there's a lot of subtle swirling noises that the back of your brain is picking up and enjoying while you bop to the beat. This group has the song-writing AND the gimmick down. It even looks like they're good live!
The album is up for download on their bandcamp. The vinyl version has three noisy "soundscapes" inbetween tracks, though I'm paying a pretty hefty chunk of change on shipping costs getting it to the US.