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Depending on who you talk to, Australian rockers are stereotyped as either AC/DC-ish headbangers or quirky new wavers a la Men At Work. But neither stereotype fits Automatic, a hard-driving alternative rock unit that was formed in Ocean Grove, Australia (two hours west of Melbourne) in 1994. Produced by Nick Launay (who had worked with everyone from the Posies to Midnight Oil to INXS), Transmitter is a riveting disc that's far from predictable. Whether tearing into catchy, punky power-pop grooves on "Five," "Fade Away" and "Slipstream" or being more abstract on "Does She Kiss Like You, ""Blown" and "Aeon Flux," Automatic is gutsy and risk-taking. Launay clearly did right by the promising band.

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