Follow Us on Twitter

The Automatic - Not Accepted Anywhere

The Automatic, Not Accepted Anywhere

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

THE Automatic are on the crest of a wave of popularity generated from their top 5 smash hit single, Monster. With its catchy chorus of “what’s that coming over the hill, is it a monster? Is it a monster?”, the band have successfully put together the sort of timeless pub anthem that will doubtless remain a feel-good anthem for years to come.

Monster is actually the band’s third single but it’s easily their most successful and commercial. What better time, then, to release the album, Not Accepted Anywhere?

Sadly, the release is something of a disappointment. As energetic as the 12 tracks are, there is a depressing sense of over-familiarity once you’ve reached the halfway point. A track like Monster stands head and shoulders above some of the more mundane anthems that follow pretty much the same format from track to track.

The Automatic are, of course, a teenage four-piece from Cowbridge and their riotous sound smacks of their tender years. It’s delivered with a youthful zest – all manic drums, frenzied guitars and dizzying keyboard sounds that collide as an edgy, riotous mess.

Some of the sentiment is right – third track, You Shout You Shout You Shout You Shout laments the fact that there’s “so much crap on the radio today” and urges people, somewhat mockingly, “to keep dancing in the routine way”. But as admirable and correct as such a line remains, The Automatic fail to provide a lasting remedy of their own.

The track is, at least, one of the better anthems – featuring some strong guitar-work and a chorus that ought to have you chanting as loudly as “is it a monster?”

But elsewhere, the formula is so rigid that tracks have a habit of sounding the same. Vocally, the layering is exactly the same on almost every track as it is on Monster – Ron Hawkins’ strong, distinctive lead, backed by a higher toned, almost scream-like set of backing vocals during the shouty chorus.

Team Drama, Recover and Seriously… I Hate You Guys fall particularly prone to that criticism, while lyrically most songs fall into a repetitive cycle of easy to master chants. Monster’s is obvious and widely embraced, but tracks like Seriously… I Hate You Guys drop lines like “that’s the happiest you’ve looked all day” over and over.

In live form, you can pretty much guess that the mosh-pit will be a sweaty mess of bouncing revellers chanting such choruses over and over. But in record form, it becomes a little wearying.

The best examples of the potential contained within The Automatic’s make-up are tracks like On The Campaign Trail and By My Side – the latter, especially, tapping into more feelings of a disaffected youth pondering questions such as “is this the end of the world” and “I can’t remember the last time anything I said meant anything”. Keane have tapped into a similar feeling of frustration and anger on their latest album, although they deliver it with much more restraint.

If nothing else, The Automatic seem to developing a very distinct sound for themselves, while their energy can be infectious in moments such as Monster. It’s just that this particular beast needs a little taming if they don’t want to be considered as a one-note set of performers.

Track listing:

  1. That’s What She Said
  2. Raoul
  3. You Shout You Shout You Shout
  4. Recover
  5. Monster
  6. Lost At Home
  7. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
  8. Seriously Guys I Hate You
  9. On The Campaign Trail
  10. Team Drama
  11. By My Side
  12. Rats