The Automatic - Tear The Signs Down
Four years can be a very long time in rock n roll. Back in 2006, The Automatic were riding high with the debut album hitting top five and Monster being blared out on every station and every dance floor, as the shoutalong song of the year. But the band was up there to be shot at. Disliked amongst their peers and mocked by the discerning music lover as being nothing more than McFly with A levels!
Ready to take on all challengers, the band released the follow up This Is A Fix two years later with a mellowing in style to accommodate those backbiters. Polydor screwed up the distribution; low sales resulted in nothing more than top fifty and reviews were mixed, including The Guardian labelling it “utterly awful”. Sadly, their record company agreed and unceremoniously dumped the band.
But there's clearly a determination amongst the Welsh quartet to get back up and resume the fight. So via their own label, what's that coming over the hill (sorry)? - the third album. What it lacks first of all, similarly to This Is A Fix, is the instant tub thumping tunes from the debut. There's nothing to match the pumping drive of Recover or Raoul here, but what we do have is a return to the style of the debut. Last year's single Interstate is here and is a fair example of what to expect. There's a force throughout the album, some catchy riffs and a clarity in production that allows the songs to breathe. Numbers like Insides, Run And Hide and Race To the Heart Of the Sun all pound along joyously, with a clear invitation to join in and, whilst relatively simplistic, this is a commendably well written set of songs. What it does lack though is variety, with the only real excursion away from the regular formula being Something Else, where the bass drives a harder bargain but at the expense of melody.
This is certainly good enough to regenerate some interest and sounds a lot more accomplished than many of their modern contemporaries. But four years remains a long time for The Automatic and their sound is suddenly dated. There are doubtless remnants of the old sea of disdain already gathering momentum to immerse the album without a justified hearing and that's a shame. It deserves better but will no doubt be a 'cheap bin' filler for the summer, rather than the dance floor filler of the past!
Release date: 08/03/10