Robbers on High Street - Grand Animals 
by Marisa Brown
While New York\'s Robbers on High Street gained a lot of comparisons to the Strokes and Franz Ferdinand after the release of their first full-length, Tree City, it is Spoon that they turn to for their sophomore album. Not that hints of this didn\'t exist before, but it\'s amplified even more greatly here, and most of the tracks on Grand Animals sound as if they were borrowed directly from the Austin band\'s discarded sketches. Because while lead singer Benjamin Trokan has a voice and delivery style very reminiscent of Spoon\'s frontman, his words aren\'t quite up to par with those of Britt Daniel, who\'s able to tell intimate, interesting stories without sounding clichéd or forced. Not that Trokan\'s lyrics are bad, but they don\'t compare to Daniel\'s in the slightest, either trying too hard to be like him (\"The Fatalist\" and \"Crown Victory\" both sound like they were written after spending a lot of time with Gimme Fiction), or just plain mediocre (\"The Ramp,\" \"You Don\'t Stand a Chance\"). Perhaps if they were put more often to compositions that weren\'t ripped directly from the Spoon songbook the lyrics wouldn\'t come across as weak (and the times where the band does take an alternate musical route, like in \"Guard at Your Heel\" and \"Your Phantom Walks the Rail,\" they work well), but because of their musical choices, Robbers on High Street make that comparison inevitable, and therefore they must also face the consequences of having shown themselves so unmistakably as a lesser band. Yes, there are horns, yes there are string-sounding keyboards and plenty of falsetto (resembling Spacehog\'s frontman Royston Langdon, strangely enough) to try to set them apart, and it all sounds fine, but it\'s not more than bits and pieces of other people\'s work reassembled into something vaguely new, and at this point in their career, Robbers on High Street need to better attempt settling into a style of their own.
Fine Lines 
by MacKenzie Wilson
Robbers on High Street deliver a crunchy set of genuine rock & roll spirit on their debut EP, Fine Lines. The New York foursome refrain from going for that fashion-slick city sound made popular in the new millennium by the likes of the Strokes and Interpol. Honestly, Fine Lines is a solid record because the band is tight enough to pull it off without anything other than what they\'re offering: cinematic lyrics soaked in surefire guitar licks from frontman Ben Trokan and Steven Mercado. Bassist Jeremy Phillips and drummer Tomer Danan accentuate Fine Lines\' elasticity, therefore suggesting that Robbers on High Street are confident in their craft. Don\'t quickly dismiss it as cockiness. Fine Lines is based more on an imaginative desire to formulate, carefully and correctly, a design that\'s fresh. Songs such as the majestic horn-laden \"A Night at Star Castle\" and \"Debonair\"\'s dark pop flair succeed in that. \"Hot Sluts (Say I Love You)\" is their most glossy post-punk moment; however, it doesn\'t revel in it for too long. Trokan\'s slight vocal gravel on this album standout is much too romantic for it to fall culprit to formulated swagger. Like Longwave did with The Strangest Things, Robbers on High Street master their approach in getting a \"full\" rock & roll sound on Fine Lines. Talk about the passion.
Tree city 
by Stewart Mason
The debut full-length by Robbers on High Street tries a bit too hard to put this New York quartet on the same footing as the Strokes, Ambulance LTD, or Interpol: \'80s-inspired post-post-punk given an unapologetically commercial sheen. That production gloss might actually be to the band\'s detriment; these songs are uniformly head and shoulders above those on their 2004 EP, Fine Lines, but that self-produced record had some appealingly rough edges that suited the band\'s slightly nervous, jumpy sound. On Tree City, drummer Tomer Danan and bassist Jeremy Phillips are smoothed out, more Echo & the Bunnymen than Joy Division, a change that does the songs no favors. Although frontman Ben Trokan\'s songwriting has taken an enormous step forward — the soaring \"Amanda Green\" has a chorus worthy of Paul Weller between verses that mine the same vein of post-punk dance as Franz Ferdinand — the curiously lifeless production means that several listens are necessary before the songs\' charms are fully revealed.