A monster album?

There's an extremely good chance your mind will already be made up about The Automatic. Even if previous singles 'Recover' and 'Raoul' passed you by then 'Monster' will definitely have made an impact. At T in The Park, it seemed that everyone was hollering about what was coming over the hill and a full tent for their show indicates The Automatic are happening at the moment. However, is their album any good?

Thankfully, it appears that it is. A constant level of sprightly poppy punk tunes with futuristic keyboard sounds underpinning the lot has given The Automatic a sound that is of now but also all of their own.

Lead singer Rob Hawkins offers a manic yell and his always on-edge delivery doesn't allow the listener to relax at any time. 'Raoul' has a singalong chorus to rival 'Monster' and it's a likely candidate to be re-released in the future.

Lyrically, the band has recurring themes of being defeated and railing against these oppressions and fighting back. Given the choppy and sniper like music that lies underneath the vocals, comparisons with The Clash, in at least the attitude and energy, are not far from the mark.

Unsurprisingly now that they have had a hit single, there appears to be a waiting backlash for The Automatic. Recent NME's have found the band under fire from letters and other acts for the crime of being posh and clever kids playing rock n roll. This may indeed be true but it doesn't make for any constructive criticism of an act, more likely this is stemming from jealousy that The Automatic have made a crossover or from downright indie-snobbery that only believes anything the masses can't touch is good. Usually, the masses are rubbish and what they buy is an indication of all that is bad with the world but occasionally, a good song can make it too.

Is there anything as good as 'Monster'? Its hard to say really, there is clearly nothing that will rival it in a reaching out to the population type of way but there are many quality tracks on this debut album. Even then, its no bad thing as it should be remembered that although the big hit does have an outrageously infectious chorus, it is a great song. The muted verse vocals, the echoing backing vocals, the chiming intro guitars and the dark paranoid feeling all combine to make a classic track but it is not the only gem on the record. 'Lost At Home' follows it on the album and the fact there is no discernable dip in quality shows how strong it is.

As mentioned at the start, you've probably already decided about The Automatic but if you are still swithering, their debut album is well worth a gamble.