Automatic – Excess

Automatic place their own radical stamp on the 70s and 80s sounds they've been exploring for their second album

Album Review by Lewis Robertson | 20 Jun 2022
  • Automatic - Excess
Album title: Excess
Artist: Automatic
Label: Stones Throw
Release date: 24 Jun

On their second album, Automatic shift gears and lay down some futurist phase. Excess is led by a groovy 70s bassline – soon backed by synths, it mutates through the speakers, and before you know it, you’re tasting a different flavour of retro in their take on 80s techno-pop. Styles sprawl across the record, but the arrangements always feel authentic; more than mere copycats, the band are scholars of sound. Iconic 1980s energy is captured like lightning in a bottle, and Automatic put their own spin on it in earnest. Both pastiche and parody are dealt to the end of counterculture, and subsequent boomer golden age, by a group who grasp the ethos of the era: everything in excess.

With tunes now tamed, Automatic set their crosshairs on Greed Decade hypocrisy with ethereal, alienated lyrics. The trio mock the madness of mainstream capitalism with Skyscraper, and Teen Beat waxes eerily about the climate crisis catching up. Restoring feminist and environmentalist ideals to the music age famously appropriated by commercial avarice is a tall order – one only achieved with the band’s technical talent in synth, drums and bass. Excess plays with antique dissonance and distortion, finding a somehow smoother sound than ever before.

Listen to: New Beginning, Skyscraper, Teen Beat