Head Automatica â€“ Decadence / 2004 Warner Bros / 11 Tracks / http://www.headautomatica.com / http://www.warnerbros.com / Reviewed 01 November 2004
Starting off â€œDecadenceâ€ with a Strokes and Hives-influenced track, â€œAt The Speed of A Yellow Bulletâ€, Darylâ€™s first side project to Glassjaw captures a completely different side of eir. Keeping the same general sound, albeit incorporating a funky synth line and shuffling drum beat, â€œBrooklyn Is Burningâ€ does much to continue fleshing out the bandâ€™s song without going completely out on a tangent. Perfect fodder for Clearchannel, Head Automatica has that insightful amalgamation of a myriad of styles, kept simple in order to approach the largest fan base. Finally tapping the rich well of emo music during â€œBeating Heart Babyâ€, the track seems more directed towards the math/shoegazer rock of The Red Hot Valentines and The Killers than directed towards 70s arena rock. The second set of vocals during â€œBeating Heart Babyâ€, along with the omnipresent bass line, add a fullness, even bordering on lushness, to the track that seems oddly absent on a number of tracks during â€œDecadenceâ€.
For example, the funky-dance beat of â€œPlease Please Pleaseâ€ seems to be anti-septic; each of the guitar blurbs and synth lines seem to be a little too perfect; even the rich tones of Darylâ€™s voice canâ€™t dispel this offsetting feeling. The snottiness of Darylâ€™s voice becomes unbearable during â€œKing Caesarâ€, which is only rendered worse by a cluttered and unoriginal backbeat â€“ Iâ€™ve heard it before, in every Newsboys song. Even the lyrics on â€œKing Caesarâ€ seem uninspired: â€œHip Hip Hooray, Youâ€™re A Saving Grace, Hereâ€™s To You and Your Poker Faceâ€. Bringing back the bass in a strong way during â€œThe Razorâ€, in a way that sounds more Clash and Police-ish than anything, the track is one of the stronger on â€œDecadenceâ€. Strong, spat-out lyrics by Daryl and the ska-guitars provide the high end where the previously-mentioned bass and the bass-y drums add much to the low.
Head Automatica is an inspired step from Glassjaw, and the disc is perfect in a party type of setting. However, some of the tracks are weak in Darylâ€™s sent-in Claudio rip-off vocals (Dance Party Plus), and yet others are weak in the production and arrangement (King Caesar). The continued meshing of different musical styles in such a self-contained package is a victory for Daryl, and hopefully more will be done under this guise, as it holds tons of potential. Daryl just has not divorced eirself completely from eir previous incarnation, and I feel that is what is holding eir back.
Top Tracks: Disco Hades, Brooklyn is Burning