The Automatic

This Is A Fix

Written by: TL on 04/09/2008 19:42:14

If you had your ears tuned into British or Danish radio last year, your attention might have been caught by a ridiculously catchy chorus going "What's that coming over the hill, is it a monster? Is it a monsteeer?". Added to that, if you're of a mostly mainstream orientation, you might also remember being annoyed by that pesky guy screaming in the background of that song, (aptly titled "Monster"). If that's the case, then you'll be delighted to hear, that not only are The Automatic back with a sophomore trying to prove that they can make an album with more to it than one major hit, they've also parted with their keyboardist responsible for both the screams and some very random live behaviour. The band now sports a more homogenous expression, and effectively it might be just up your alley - at least if you're a fan of bands that would fall somewhat under The Automatic's self proclaimed "electro-disco-metal-rock" genre... Metal.. Hahahaha..

No seriously, apart from that ill-placed label, "This Is A Fix" opens with a kick ass guitar riff and a blast of attitude in "Responsible Citizen", a song that sneers at British alcohol policy and therefore should be an instant hit with anyone who likes to booze up every once in a while. The song might not have the most excellent chorus, but that's definitely corrected with the retardedly catchy "Steve McQueen", which may just be able to own up to the hysterically big hit "Monster" became for a brief period (that is until everyone got sick of it). "Accessories" picks up the socio-critical attitude, but otherwise fails to impress overly. Then it's a different manner with the down-tempo "Magazines", as it reclaims your attention with the Razorlight-ish intro and catchy chorus.

Throughout the album, the style of the first three tracks is continued though. Up-tempo songs, filled with critical attitude and more or less catchy choruses and guitar riffs. The good thing about them being that if you give them the time for a few spins, they're all well enough written to wedge themselves solidly into your mind. On the flipside, listening to the album in one go isn't exactly going to feel like an upwards curve of excitement, mostly due to two things. One thing is that some of the songs don't quite live up to the first ones, for example the rather bland "In The Mountains", another is that there simply isn't enough variety in the band's sound to keep you interested through all twelve songs. A fact that might also have something to do with the other thing that's weighing the album down, namely the fact that Robin Hawkins' constantly strained vocal delivery is far from impressive, and after half an album of his sharp British punk-rock sound, only varied with guitarist James Frost and new keyboardist Paul Mullen backing the odd chorus here and there, it's not too blunt to say that his delivery becomes slightly annoying. Effectively, the good songs on the record (which account for more than half of them), feel like they could've been awesome with a more capable singer, but instead they're, well, just good.

As such, I must admit that I have a hard time seeing The Automatic gain success with more than a few tracks other than "Steve McQueen". "This Is A Fix" gives you your money's worth, but then that's about it, and people who pursue other avenues than Brit-rock when they expand their record collection might want to skip this purchase and just download the handful of tracks that tickle their fancy.

7

Download: Responsible Citizen, Steve McQueen, Magazines, Make The Mistakes
For The Fans Of: Arctic Monkeys, The Hives, Disco Ensemble, Razorlight
Listen: myspace.com/theautomatic

Release Date 28.08.2008
B-Unique Records

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