Attempting To Slay Their Monsters
Like a gleaming albatross hanging around their necks, The Automatic have seen one particular song send them to the dizzy heights before fiendishly chucking them to the baiting masses with contempt. By getting them mainstream recognition and terrace chant status, ‘Monster’ finally turned on the Welsh band, making them appear mere one hit wonders who weren’t a serious rock act and causing many to dismiss them out of hand for that simple fact. Indeed things haven’t been plain sailing for the Cowbridge rockers with their most prolific member, Alex Pennie, deciding enough was enough and leaving, taking with him his characteristics yelps that people wither loved or loathed. But there’s more to The Automatic than that one song and now, with yourcodenameis:milo’s singer Paul Mullen slotting in with the guitarists, its time for the Welsh lads to finally ditch the albatross of ‘Monster’.
Having been tarnished as something of a novelty band, The Automatic are clearly on a mission with ‘This Is A Fix’ to let everyone know that they have it within them to be a strong alternative band. Gone are the chant along singles that dazzled the pre-teen crowd and in are chugging riffs and an overall heavier sound that suggests this is a band that has matured. Album opener, ‘Responsible Citizen’ finds the band spitting with contempt as they pound their way through the track, unleashing a quick succession of drum beats and guitars that accumulate in a chorus that whips past with added gusto. ‘Magazines’ meanwhile ups the contempt levels further still as Rob Hawkins sneers alongside an easy rhythm that gently shimmies by with a slick groove to gently lull you in whilst ‘Make The Mistakes’ sees Hawkins’ vocals mingling with some dashes of electro backed be the tight knit guitars that seem to prevail throughout for the band. But its closer ‘Light Entertainment’ that truly reveals the changes the band has gone through. Taking snippets of Ash and Feeder, ‘Light Entertainment’ bubbles with an unadulterated indie rock ethos as vocal harmonies whirl amongst seething guitar riffs that exude a sense of cynicism to add some darkness to the track.
Maturity does not mean that The Automatic is no longer fun. Still lurking within ‘This Is A Fix’ is a band that encapsulate the catchy hooks of an infectiously rowdy slice of indie rock, only now there’s more emphasis on the rock side of things. Lead single ‘Steve McQueen’ explodes with contagious guitar riffs that penetrate relentlessly, insuring that the hook heavy chorus immediately engages all as the track builds to an eruption of thumping drums and pure sing out loud lyrics.
The Automatic have completely reassessed themselves with ‘This Is A Fix’ and with it acquired a louder, more determined sound that no longer relies on the instant snap of a song. Sure, the catchy numbers are still there but ‘This Is A Fix’ does not revolve merely around them and whilst some fans may find this new sound hard to accept, for others it will be a welcome addition as The Automatic take a positive step out of ‘Monster’s shadows.