“Robot Ponies” has a clattering kalimba arrangement that sounds like a rusted whirligig or malfunctioning jack-in-the-box, with Laura’s stolid falsetto sliding in the vein of Julie Delpy, Kath Bloom, or Mariee Sioux.
The corroded toy continues to twirl in the monotonous instrumental “Stop Giving Your Children Standardized Tests, Part One” and every other track – with the exception of the second half of “Deception Island Optimists Club”, which spreads out into a slower, dreamy melody.
The kalimba led instrumentation and unexpressive vocal gimmick had dragged on from quirky into tedium by the time the cover of Weird Al’s “Smells Like Nirvana” rolled around, so the humor of the parody was lost on me. The finale “S.g.y.e.s.t. (Joshua Van Tassel remix)” provided some relief by putting a beat behind the clinking and tinkling.