A long way since the release of their debut novelty-pop rock debut, The Automatic is back and there’s not a monster in sight.
Well, at least not lyrically, as third album, Tear The Signs Down, certainly processes lycanthropic qualities. From the throbbing metal and relentless drums of Something Else to the roaring rock of Race to The Hearts of the Sun which echoes the structure of a milder My Bloody Valentine/ early Biffy Clyro progeny, there are all the signs of demonic outpourings.
Both these heavier tracks deftly build the long-player into something of a frenzied crescendo, but the thrashing pace - whilst more emo meets pop rock - presents itself from the get go. Opening track Insides kick starts the eleven track release bustling with distorted guitar riffs as Robin Hawkin’s trademark vocals cry /I’m not ready to fall/. That is before Interstate and Cannot Be Saved jump back to the chanting chart rock and memorable choruses we’re used to from the band.
With the exception of Run and Hide, which offers the same heavy guitar-led sound, the middle segment of the record shows interesting new sides to the Welsh quartet. List and Sweat Heat Noise – although tedious lyrically at times (/Give me sweat heat noise and I’ll give you the best of me/) – exude more Topman- Indie than the sweat-soaked-fringe rock of the rest of the album. On the contrary, High Time shows a more synth-rich Foals-esque style, which is disappointingly one-time showing.
Ultimately, Tear the Signs Down, is a varied third record demonstrating an inevitable progression. Whilst The Automatic’s debut was bursting with effervescent Indie gems and Wombats-esque joviality, their follow up This is a Fix showed the transition to the rockier, darker sound of the third player taking shape. But this second album evidenced a fear to take the whole leap into this rock cess pit, with the possibility of alienating themselves from their critical acclaim seeming too big.
Having since quit their major label, The Automatic’s newest album comes straight from their own label - something which has given them the balls to finally let their anarchic cannon loose. Whilst at times the lyrics let them down and the screamo-attempts and borderline self-indulgent guitar riffs brink on monotony, Tear the Signs Down is an altogether refreshingly organic record, with the band kicking Raul to the curb and proving it’s time to start taking them seriously.