There is a droning, thick layer of murmur, posting up a numbing ping, to the front door of your earhole, through the lead track “Too Much Money”, and most of the quick and ripping debut release Signal by post-punk LA trio Automatic. And no, itʻs not tinnitus. Not yet.
Peep the declarative whir of three women, who named their band after a song by the Go-Gos. That sinister tone? Acknowledgement of 21st-century isolation attributed to “device culture”, slicing through all the “phone alert”noise. The Go-Goʻs were the only all-female band to write their songs and play their own instruments on an album to reach #1 on the US. Devastating.
Automatic met while entrenched in LAʻs DIY scene and began working shit out as a unit in 2017. These musicians-Izzy Glaudini, Lola Dompé, and Halle Saxon-purposely decided to remove the guitar element from their band. Turned off by the “bro” energy in the local scene and rock music on the radio — “pumped out like plastic bottles into the ocean”.
So hold tight. With synths, drums and bass-Automatic manipulates tone and jostles negative space by pushing that doom cold groove. Projecting visions of asymmetrical hair coifs shifting in the blue light. A quick-moving debut, Signal, eviscerates narratives quickly over 11 tracks, darting through post-punk eras with low-key aplomb. B-52’s type vocals, ESG jitters, and Suicideʻs melancholic outlook: this trio jolts angst through eerie atmospheres.
From crypt keeper vibes unloading dagger synths, drum stick hits, and monotone vocals. To slow-building intense joints, pushing you to nod, move and sway. Converting a room full of strangers into your peer group of witnesses to this dub-punk expanse. Running on a speedy inner timer, drummer Lola Dompé keeps the meter crisp, understated and matter of fact. Her Dad is Kevin Haskins of Bauhaus, btw. Playing since the age of 13, she’s familiar.
“Signal” a brilliant track and namesake of the album, gives us pointed fashioning of Joy Division type arrangement. Set to bristling rhythms, making loneliness the best beat to get your Ian Curtis raincoat wiggle on to, the alienation drudgery hits on-point.
“Left or going right you can’t decide/to slave away another day from 9 to 5/oh look at me/machinery of modern life/turn off and on/ it’s not enough to be alive”.
A minimal skimpy beat divulges laser beams of doom mid-song, stepping up your sway deeper into the void. This anthem, hands-down, conveys no-wave crisp lines and minimalist bops for the alienated social media era we exist in. Buy this!