The Automatic

Not Accepted Anywhere

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The Automatic Automatic released their debut full-length, Not Accepted Anywhere, in their native Britain in mid-2006 to a fair amount of success, helped no doubt by a series of well-attended and -received live appearances. A year later, under the name the Automatic (reasons for the switch were unclear, as they remain the unmodified form in the U.K.) reissued their album -- with a new cover -- in the U.S. With a slot on 2007's Warped Tour, there's no reason why the band shouldn't find a similarly attentive audience in America. A mix of Futureheads harmonies, Bloc Party-esque guitar work, a lead singer who seems to have taken some cues from Against Me's Tom Gabel, plus a healthy dose of modern rock and pop punk, the Automatic Automatic/the Automatic provides more of that vaguely angular, post-punk dance-rock that took over indie nightclubs in the early 2000s. But despite the individual talent and innovation of their various influences, the band still comes across as derivative, a whole that's much less than the sum of its parts, instead of as an entity with its own ideas to add to the scene. Their songs are formulaic: short, repetitive verses and choruses that lay over sharply produced guitars and synths -- executed best in the admittedly catchy "Monster" and worst in the overly simplistic "Keep Your Eyes Peeled," which recycles three phrases over and over again until they've lost their significance, disintegrate and blow away. This reliance on the same approach to each piece does mean that Not Accepted Anywhere is a fairly consistent album, with no tracks that stick out unwieldily from the rest, but it also means that there's not much here -- neither hooks nor compelling vocals -- to give it much staying power past a listen or two.

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