La Costa Rasa

Autopilot

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Signed to Sisters of Mercy mainman Andrew Eldritch's Merciful Release label, La Costa Rasa show themselves to be a perfect match for their home, given that they use drum machines in place of a real drummer. The source of inspiration for the trio is more Big Black than Sisters, though, crossed with more than a dollop of wracked, grunge-inspired vocals, industrial/electronic body music keyboard fills, and sheet-metal guitar feedback walls. There's a far amount of biker-rock chug as well that suggests Steppenwolf or Hawkwind for a newer generation, and why not? As a synthesis of styles, Autopilot is always a clear descendant of its inspirations, but more than once the band finds a way to make it all work in entertaining, gripping fashion. The intense focus of La Costa Rasa is in many ways their key strength, with bandleader Andrew Mills' singing and guitar often paired just right, driving each other onward to get to the meat of the songs. When the volume ratchets down a bit, the intensity usually doesn't, as the semi-barrelhouse piano blues groove starting "Headband" or the gentle, slightly art-goth introduction to "Silence" demonstrates. At the same time, often the trio is content to coast in a technically fine but emotionally uninvolving fashion -- dancefloor fodder for those who loved their Ministry as much as they loved their Nirvana. Then there are moments -- like the opening percussion rumble of "Close Enough" -- which confirm that yes, this band really does like Sisters of Mercy a lot. Occasional samples from various sources -- the movie Aliens provides a little extra punch for the strutting "Burning Idols," while Shakespeare and various other pop culture references also appear -- add to the atmosphere as needed.

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