The Automatic - Not Accepted Anywhere

They believe that their music is the antidote to "the automatic life" - a life in music, which has lifted these four Cardiff-based men out of Wales and onto the label B-Unique, home of the Kaisers. And here, riding on the coattails of their peers and contemporaries, we have their debut album, Not Accepted Anywhere, a sturdy enough collection of twelve songs. But is it enough? Are they to the new movement of music that Menswear were to Britpop, or Northside were to Madchester. Or do they possess that certain quality?

As with many bands before them the debut single was a limited release, followed up by Raoul in March of this year. That performed reasonably well, but pales compared to recent single Monster, which went top five and was a massive radio smash. Some loved it (I was one of them), some absolutely despised it (a certain online music magazine giving it a ludicrously bad, vitriolic review).

To be honest though, Monster has started to outstay its welcome, being as it is a rather shallow song. And sad to say, this is true of much of the album. There is very little depth to it, rather basic tunes covered up with production tricks, loud guitars and extremely irritating harmonies. Opening track That's What She Said has a Hard-Fi feel to it, but like most of the songs here has that hysterical harmony line undercutting the vocal, as if Screech from Saved By The Bell decided to join the band. Its fun the first time you hear it, but has a habit of invading almost the entire record as it is so overused.

Raoul though is a fine song, with a fantastic intro of thumping drum and deep guitar. Yes, the screeching harmony is present, but the chorus is wonderful, full of invention and sparkly keyboards. Recover is also a pretty good song, well produced and pretty funky.

And then, once you get Monster out of the way, the album does all sound pretty much the same, uncomfortably like an Offspring album from time to time. The vocals on You Shout You Shout really sound like Dexter Holland, a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view. These songs are Ok, there is nothing much particularly wrong with them, but nothing much that separates them from each other.

Best of the bunch is Seriously...I Hate You Guys, which despite being a genius title is a snappy little number, with a fine rhythm track. Team Drama is also good, but again has that annoying strained vocal harmony. Ok, it may be a trademark, but does it have to be everywhere?

After the promise of the single releases, this album is somewhat of a disappointment. It will keep Kaiser Chief fans happy until their second album is due, but I fear that unless they do better with album number two, The Automatic could find themselves going the way of other also-rans.



out of 10

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