Now signed to their own record label, The Automatic share the product of their creative freedom
Since parting ways with backing vocalist / keyboard player Alex Pennie in 2007, the Welsh band have become quite a different musical vehicle, but the acquisition of former Yourcodenameis:milo musician Paul Mullen has enabled them to continue driving forwards. Although not always appealing to all listeners, Pennie’s distinctive screams did admittedly contribute to the unique sound of The Automatic.
The 2010 album begins with ‘Insides’, which unfortunately sounds rather uninspiring. Given a few plays, this track may grow on you, but it may take several listens. However it all improves with the second song, ‘Interstate’. Bearing a passing resemblance to the post-2002 sound of Wheatus, the first single to feature from the album is a definite highlight.
‘Cannot Be Saved’ is one of the few songs that seem to have retained the typical Automatic sound (minus, of course, Pennie’s vocal style). Unfortunately the next track, ‘List,’ becomes repetitive very quickly and is in great danger of being skipped to reach the stronger songs that follow.
The alternative style of ‘Sweat Heat Noise’ is very refreshing, this time adding a wonderful theremin-like instrument to The Automatic’s sound and fitting in very naturally with the electronic elements that often feature in the band’s music. ‘Run & Hide’ is one of the better songs on the album and has quite rightly been chosen as the band’s second single to be released from ‘Tear the Signs Down’.
The Automatic vary their style yet again for ‘High Time’ and ‘Race to the Heart of the Sun,’ the latter of which opens with a sound not too dissimilar to Biffy Clyro.
The ninth track, ‘Can I Take You Home,’ has a great, catchy chorus that thankfully revitalises the spirit of the album. Unfortunately, the brilliance is short-lived, with the album progressing into ‘Something Else,’ which appears little more than a carelessly constructed collage of noisy rock.
‘Tear It Down’ is a fair conclusion to the album; the experimentation with rhythm reflecting the creative freedom that the band seem to have adopted since setting up and signing to their own record label, Armoured Records.
Unfortunately, this album is no match for their 2006 debut release, ‘Not Accepted Anywhere’, which provided us with catchy tunes such as ‘Monster’ and ‘Recover’. To be fair, ‘Tear the Signs Down’ has a few impressive tracks, but The Automatic ultimately still lack the unique sound that they once had.