Head Automatica – Popaganda (CD)

Head Automatica – Popaganda / 2006 Warner Bros / 14 Tracks / http://www.headautomatica.com / http://www.warnerbros.com / Reviewed 21 May 2006

“Graduation Day” is the perfect introduction for individuals into Head Automatica. Gone is a lot of the electronic, dance-emo that made their previous album “Decadence”. This is a brand of college-rock meets emo music that will go down listeners’ palettes easily.

The inclusion of a clap track during “Laughing At You” gives individuals something else to grab onto; while the track is largely dominated by the vocals, there are momentary distractions present with the bursts of music and clapping that will excite listeners. The style of vocals that is common during “Popaganda” is in the vein of Marc Schultz meeting Conor Oberst; there is a slightly-snotty tenor to the vocalist that differentiates eir voice from all the other ones out on the market. During “Lying Through Your Teeth”, the inclusion of a hair-metal guitar riff and synthesizers keeps individuals into the disc and leads well into “Nowhere Fast”. “Nowhere Fast” is a track that has two different styles that are struggling for dominance; at some point, there is the same brand of emo rock put forth by the vocals, but the instrumentation feels a lot colder and couched in the New Romantic tradition. The slower, almost slow-dance tempo of “Scandalous” will be the big breakup song of the summer, as each guitar line is like a pointed stick deep in the heart of all that have been scorned.

The fact that the track relies on a very fifties style means that the track sounds odd to the thirteen and fourteen year olds who put this album on, but the intense emotional content of the track will affect them nonetheless. The simple fact is that most albums that break the twelve song mark have a little extraneous material to them; this is not the case with “Popaganda” as each song reaches for a slightly different audience and covers a slightly different topic. Head Automatica’s new album is miles beyond their older one, as the band has moved beyond the constraints of what was really a fad in popular music. By dropping the dance-emo style of the previous album, the talent of the band is allowed to shine and the band succeeds time in and time out. Here’s to hoping that Head Automatica continues along this style and gets a whole new fan base listening to the band that may have been put off by the music that was on “Decadence”.

Top Tracks: Scandalous, Graduation Day

Rating: 6.6/10

[JMcQ]

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