By : Steve Bychoswki
5 min read
Automatic — Excess (indie)
I first heard of the LA-based band Automatic when a song from their debut album Signal was played on NJ free-form radio station WFMU. I was immediately hooked. More recently, I was able to visit Soul Jazz Records in London, and Automatic was predominantly displayed among their expertly curated selection. And now, Illegally Blind (who never books a bad show) is presenting Automatic at the Lilypad in Cambridge on October 18th. That is three gatekeepers of good taste giving their endorsement—more than enough to warrant a listen.
Automatic hits that sweet spot of being simultaneously catchy, gritty, punk, new-wave, DIY, polished, danceable, and chaotic. There was a magical time in the history of music when the 70s underground met the mainstream pop of the 80s, when for a brief moment everything that was great about 70s punk was able to coexist with a more catchy, polish, slower, mainstream sound. Automatic takes that moment as inspiration, and they hit the mark perfectly.
A sparse three piece, drummer Lola Dompe lays out steady, driving, mid-tempo beats, creating a perfect foundation for Halle Saxon’s bass lines, which are the star of the show. Both Signal and Automatic’s new album Excess start with brilliant bass lines that immediately draw you into the album and set the tone for everything that follows. Layered on top of this incredible rhythm section is Izzy Glaudini’s synths that run the spectrum from expansive sonic blankets to startling hammer blows.
Automatic named themselves after a song by the Go-Go’s, the only all-female rock band to have written and played instruments on an album that reached #1 in the US. I am not sure if Automatic will reach such heights, but it is incredible to me that they are playing in a space as small as the Lilypad. By all accounts they should be selling out larger venues in Boston. And hopefully they will one day, and those of us with enough sense to see them at the Lilypad on October 18th will be able to say we saw them before they got big.
Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #151 October 2022
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