Autoliner's second album (their first was originally released under the band name Life on Mars, but another band with that name complained, so it was reissued as the album Life on Mars by the band Autoliner) is a huge leap beyond their good but at times rather generic debut. There's a newfound psychedelic feel to the trio's songs, and a bigger emphasis on the soaring three-part harmonies that are the cornerstone of their sound. Having three singer/songwriters in a band is usually a recipe for artistic diversity that verges on incoherence, but guitarist Brian Leach (formerly of the underrated indiepoppers Sugarbuzz and the '80s pioneers the Last Gentlemen), bassist John Ross, and drummer Tom Curless sing like a meatier version of the Hollies, and their collaborative songwriting and thoughtful production give the album sonic consistency without sounding like ten versions of the same song. Even a cover of Alice Cooper's "Living," reworked with multiply overdubbed breathy harmonies and a much speedier tempo, sounds like an original, and the originals are almost uniformly terrific. (The opening "Weakened" goes on about a minute too long, and a couple of tempos drag a bit, but those are minor faults.) For those who have ever wished the Apples in Stereo would add just a little muscle to their sound, or that Cheap Trick would record an album of Monkees covers, Be is what you've been waiting for.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason