Album review: Automatic – Signal

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Source: album artwork

Words by Lady Godiva

Automatic hail from the scorching sun of Los Angeles but have no problem portraying the coldness of 1980s Britain. Stepping on this avant-garde three-piece’s territory brings instant shivers to the listener from the razor sharp, brooding yet suave atmosphere they create, brimming with sexual tension and cabin fever. Not surprising for a band that shares a name with one of The Jesus & Mary Chain’s best records.

These glamorous ladies bewitch the listener like mermaids luring sailors, using haunting vocals not dissimilar to Jonnine Standish from HTRK. If you have ever seen the Australian frontwoman live, you will find her distant shadow hanging over vocalist and synth player Izzy Glaudini. There is remarkable chemistry in this guitarless threesome, choosing to overlook such a popular instrument was a risky move but it works wonders as the sound is morphed to be ominously tight and powerful. Halle Saxon Gaines’s majestic bass is a space rocket. I dare you to not get in orbit on the intro of ‘Highway’, it’s a sensory catapult.

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Automatic – Photo by Logan White

Amongst other female inspirations, Sharin Foo also springs to mind, especially on ‘Suicide In Texas’ which possesses a Raveonettes feel reminiscent of ‘Somewhere In Texas’ on Pretty In Black. These hypnotists hold the key to staying enigmatic with a subtle but thoughtful arsenal of starkly romantic melodic loops and textures. Empowering goosebumps inducing song patterns shape their debut album Signal.

Lola Dompè’s drumming follows in the footsteps of Palmolive (Paloma McLardy) from The Slits and The Raincoats. Let’s hope Automatic will grow to be as seminal as the aforementioned groups.

These Angelenos occupy their own space and make the listener a part of their mental and intimate abode pouring out their soul, adding an otherworldly edge to keep one alert and to make their foggy ambiance more subterranean and bone-chilling.

The band’s aura is akin to a Sylvia Plath poem :

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red

And arbitrary blackness gallops in :

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed

And sung me moonstruck, kissed me quite insane (I think I made you up inside my head)”

Plath entitled this ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’. These women are anything but mad and formidably clever, let them blow your mind with their enrapturing Signal.

Released 27 September 2019. Purchase Signal here

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