The Automatic
Tear the Signs Down


2.0
poor

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
March 4th, 2010 | 39 replies | 9,634 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Without a Pennie to their name, The Automatic could soon need every penny they have saved.

I have a confession to make; My name is Davey and I am a fence-sitter. I have been known to respond with a casual “it’s ok” when someone says that I will either love something or hate it. If ever there was a love or hate proposition in the music industry however, it concerns a former member of Welsh quartet The Automatic. Once described by NME as “a deranged midget with borderline Tourettes”, Alex Pennie very much stood out on the band’s debut LP ‘Not Accepted Anywhere’. Whether he was bouncing around stage with his keyboard or yelping at every opportunity he had, it was fair to state that you could not ignore Pennie… You either loved him or hated him. Obviously, his colleagues chose the latter as he was nowhere to be seen come follow-up ‘This Is A Fix’.

Heading away from the dancey brand of post-hardcore which filled their debut, ‘This Is A Fix’ was a solid - but unsensational - straight up rocker. Unfortunately, the band’s label were unhappy with the Pennie-less results and failed to promote the album, resulting in it swiftly fading from memory. Setting up their own label (Armored Records) for creative control purposes, The Automatic return with their third LP ‘Tear The Signs Down’. Unfortunately, they may have been better off leaving the control aspect to others, since it is anything but creative. In fact, this may be the most forgettable album of the past year… Entire songs seem to be magically wiped from memory before the next track has even started!

You can tell a change in sound is in store for the band as soon as the slow-burning synth-heavy opener ‘Insides’ kicks in. The genre of choice this time around seems to be Alternative Rock, with retro and psychedelic influences haphazardly thrown in. Think Biffy Clyro and The Futureheads meeting Placebo and The Stone Roses. It’s not even the mess it sounds like it could be, because a mess would at least be remembered. Lead single ‘Interstate’ and the aptly titled ‘Cannot Be Saved’ desperately strive to find a winning hook, but end up feeling forced and repetitive… What some of these songs wouldn’t give to have Pennie squealing in the background to make them somehow memorable. The only track that feels natural is 2nd single Run and Hide, and even that won’t exactly set the charts on fire.

There really is not that much more to say about ‘Tear The Signs Down’… It is just so underwhelming and unengaging. So much so that it took me a few listens to even realize that there is a guitar solo contained within so-so closer ‘Tear It Down’. Furthermore, the apparently intentional lack of grit shown by lead vocalist Robin Hawkins is puzzling and counter-productive. ‘Tear The Signs Down’ is not necessarily an horrific album because there is nothing terrible included on it… Alex Pennie haters could even prefer this to their debut. There simply is nothing to invest in here… Nothing to make you care. Basically, it is a big bowl of meh.

Recommended Tracks: Run and Hide & Race To The Heart Of The Sun.



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user ratings (13)
Chart.
2.6
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I couldn’t think of a clever summary to do with “What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a ----------------------“

So my best alternate summary is: A big bowl of meh!


bloc
March 4th 2010



34768 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

FACE DOWN

home town

FACE DOWN

home town

FACE DOWN

home town

LOOKS SO GRAY

Seriously the only song these guys are known for.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh come on, Raoul won't be happy with you saying that!

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2010



15730 Comments


WHATS DAT COMIN OVA DA HILL IS IT A

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

F**k, it's back in my head now. So dumb, yet so catchy.

AtavanHalen
March 5th 2010



17927 Comments


LET'S GO SEE RAOUL LET'S TAKE A STAND

plane
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2010



6093 Comments


Oh man, I forgot I had listened (and reviewed, now deleted) this band's debut. I thought that album was awful so if this is only worse..

bodiesinflight57
March 5th 2010



869 Comments


I dunno why Paul Mullen is wasting his time in this band

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2010



7325 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I ll listen to this but expectations are very low. great review obviously

Knott-
Emeritus
March 5th 2010



10195 Comments


so if this is only worse..


then you should listen & review this!!!

plane
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2010



6093 Comments


mm no

StrizzMatik
March 6th 2010



3185 Comments


Yeah I saw the summary and thought of the better more talented Pennie

Do not want btw

nickobretto
March 6th 2010



121 Comments


I miss YCNI:M...

LOUIS0NFIRE
March 6th 2010



41 Comments


Penny*

bloc
March 6th 2010



34768 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

No, LOUIS, it's not a typo. Pennie was the name of a former member of The Automatic.

bodiesinflight57
March 6th 2010



869 Comments


I miss YCI:M too!

Hopefully Automatic will split up leaving Paul to reform YCI:M

Brokenjewel
March 6th 2010



1247 Comments


Good review, man. I read an interview with these guys when their first album hit and they were asked about their influences. Refused were their number one influence...

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"Oh man, I forgot I had listened (and reviewed, now deleted) this band's debut. I thought that album was awful so if this is only worse.." Not necessarily the case. As per my 1st paragraph here, that debut was the definition of a "love or hate" album. I actually really liked it. You may indeed prefer this, although their 2nd album is probably more the one worth a listen for you.

"I dunno why Paul Mullen is wasting his time in this band" Agreed. Did YourCodeNameIsMilo split up after he left, or are they still trudging along?

"I ll listen to this but expectations are very low. great review obviously" Once more, I'm confident you won't like this Ali. Although, your opinion of their 2nd album may have been harder to pick. Really, I don't see who this album is trying to appeal to.

"No, LOUIS, it's not a typo. Pennie was the name of a former member of The Automatic." I knew the summary may have been too tricky for some.

"Good review, man. I read an interview with these guys when their first album hit and they were asked about their influences. Refused were their number one influence..." Thanks BrokenJewel. I recall a similar interview, but they were a much different band then... there were much more punk & post-hardcore influences, even though they were still rather poppy.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
March 7th 2010



7325 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I havent heard any of their albums, but some of the singles have been ok. I hated Monster though

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh come on, What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a Monster, Is it a monster? It's soooo deep & meaningful... See what I mean? That debut was indeed a "love or hate" album. “

I'm altering my prediction Ali; You're gonna fall asleep if you listen to this album.



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