Automatic Thrill

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Often dismissed as mere altar boys to Turbonegro's top-dog rock & roll priesthood, Norway's Gluecifer fought an uphill battle for respect and recognition over the course of four albums, numerous EPs, and countless singles. Whether they ever fully escaped from this shadow is a matter of opinion, but there was no denying the band's survival instincts come their fifth long-player, Automatic Thrill, which hit the streets in 2004. Clearly feeling that the time was ripe for experimentation, the band toned down their rampant distortion just a tad in order to let their songs speak through clearer, cleaner, and more focused than ever before. Needless to say, this newfound restraint and finesse sounds nothing less than shocking coming from a group whose previous album was called Basement Apes. But the opening title track stated the band's case clearly enough; its ultra-compressed ambiance coming across all muted power chords and restrained madness. As well as setting a trend for much of Automatic Thrill, it probably had most longtime fans turning up the volume -- just in time to get bitch-slapped by subsequent offerings like "Take It" and "Car Full of Stash." These saw the band gradually loosening the restraints, re-igniting their amps to burning red, and proceeding to deliver song after song filled with those punchy, patented Gluecifer "rawk" riffs and great hooks. Yes, yes, hooks galore culminating in a career landmark by way of the positively brilliant "A Call From the Other Side"; with room enough left for interesting detours via the power pop-flavored, synth-enhanced "Here Come the Pigs"; the nearly too-clever-for-its-own-good punk-out "Put Me on a Plate"; and the closing, Jim Morrison-like psych-flame-out "The Good Times Used to Kill Me." In the end, Automatic Thrill simply took a few unexpected and unfamiliar paths to dispense a record that was unmistakably Gluecifer.

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