The Automatic - Manchester Academy 1 - 20.3.06

They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. That The Automatic have had to endure a tour with the biggest c*nts of the year, The Kooks, probably makes them stronger than superman.

To look at you'd assume the Automatic were just four regular boys from the valleys. Not overtly styled like Lostprophets yet not completely out of touch with fashion ala Welsh Noiseniks Jarcrew. It's when you release the mute button and turn the speakers up that The Automatic really come to life, tonight following the Ordinary Boys tribute band Young Soul Rebels, with their British take on the disco rock phenomena of Panic! At The Disco and Men, Women and Children.

The heritage has been there for years with rock bands filling out venues every night in South Wales and it's taken the Automatic to put forward the hypothesis that maybe instead of trying to be the next Lostprophets or Funeral For A Friend that maybe the logical step to take is to start a new sound of their own. The aforementioned Jarcrew are a logical starting point, as are adopted Welsh band McClusky, and essentially what the Automatic have done is taken something marginal and leftfield and make it accessible with pop hooks. "Raoul" features a Killers esque hooks with Pennie's screamo shouting adding some hardcore weight rather than fey limp wrists in pink suits, "Recover" is much the same with a chorus of "You'll never dance again" and "Monster" just pushes the novelty factor a little too far sounding as if it's come off the soundtrack of Scooby Doo.

The Automatic are on the edge of brilliance and with a few more singles in their collection they could be a huge band. Either than or they'll weird people out with their gonzo-punk disco and head back to Wales with ideas of leaving pop behind and making the experimental album they truly crave.

Alex McCann

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