ALBUM REVIEW: THE AUTOMATON – ‘The Exit’


Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane {The Colourful Writer}


Sometimes a local band comes along and basically smacks me in the face so hard I am left stunned and wondering how such incredible talent can be hanging out in the same state as me and in some cases be friends of mine, who, until this point, I had no real idea of just how musically talented they really were! Enter THE AUTOMATON, these four music makers blew my mind from the very first moment I tuned in. 

Now I am truly blessed to be friends with these four, some I am closer to than others. But one thing I do know for sure about them all is they were clearly born to bring music to our world in some way, shape or form. Now some may think my friendship will taint this review. But no, I only write when impelled to write. I only write from the heart. I only speak truth. So let me continue …The band have worked hard since their inception in 2019 playing a slew of quality gigs and festivals, keeping their socials professionally up to date with relevant content (man I love bands who take the time to do that!), building their fan base by just being all round good humans and all the while writing and creating new music to unleash into the world that is (in my opinion) always ready to receive new sounds and songs to play at full volume into the ethers and the universe as a whole. Music makes the world go round. Music keeps so many of us sane. Music speaks when we can’t. Music is the magic behind the darkest depths of our souls. THE AUTOMATON creates it, holds it in their hands, their hearts and then sets it free like a dove in flight. Bless them for doing so. 

Their debut album has felt like it has been a long time coming, I am sure it feels that way to the band. But I feel it too, perhaps because I have been there since the beginning, watching them grow, evolve, struggle (they are only human ffs) and fight through to the finish line for the album to be revealed. This month, on 08/10/2021 – ‘The Exit’ will be released. The wait is over. The Exit revealed. The way out? Or the way in? ‘The Exit’ metaphorically speaking is actually an entry of sorts. Let me explain…

The album opens with a track I almost wasn’t expecting. It’s more upbeat than what I have heard so far, at least the opening is. The lyrics come in and the main guts of the song and there is that shining darkness that I know and love of this band. To be honest, this song feels the most commercial, which there is nothing at all wrong with, haters gonna hate, but this track feels like it would not be out of place on a Triple M playlist. The sing-a-long chorus and marketable riffs from Pete along with some steady, solid bass and drums from Jimmy and Fi and Deja’s unmistakable crystal clear yet dark and eerie tone in her voice, backed up vocals by the rest of the band. It’s a recipe for a track that will reel you in, like a fish with bait dangling in its reach, well, you got me, hook, line and sinker. I am in! Caught in the Undertow. 

Next up is Infinite. This one has already been released as a single. With Deja’s vocals going from almost squeaky cute to heavy, dark and visceral matched by dirty riffs, this one is grungier, raw. In a live setting this one is mesmerising. Like a narrated passage into the minds of the band, this is leading us to the final destination, leading us to ‘The Exit.’ 

Receiver, the first track to be officially unleashed as a single. Are you ready to receive? If not, well, that’s just too bad. This song came in steady, strong and solid. It feels heavy. Solidified. This was the opening of the vortex of sounds slowly becoming tracks on an album full of blood, sweat, tears and SOUL. Trip the wire. Trip the light. Trip the fire. Receiver. 

The Understudy. A sound of the ocean or is it a breeze through the trees? Both? Huge The Cure vibes here. Dark, gothic, melancholy sounds open this track. Earphones or headphones are a must with this one. Feel it while you listen to it. It’s entering your mind and soul like a religious chant. Your religion? Music. Just pure music. 

Throat Bones, Pearl Jam vibes. ‘Vitalogy’ era. This one again, feeling somewhat of a spiritual experience. This one has me in tears. Emotive. A balance of weakness and strength. I envision scales being held by Deja as she sings from her soul. Balance. 

Matricide Blues, whoooo yeah, blues rockin’ energy, stoner rock, that echoing vibe. Blues Pills vibes. Flashing back to the 70’s even. I want to wear bell bottoms in burnt orange and daisy chains as I let my hair down while I dance in bare feet on the grass and maybe smoke some too. Vibes for dayzzzz. 

Velvet Sky. Opening guitar sounds give me huge Silverchair 90’s grunge rock vibes. Vocals join in and it’s something else again but still giving me 90’s energy. Wait, wait. It’s goth-ish vibes again, glimmers of darker 80’s bands even? Oh boy, this song has layers. Stevie Nicks vibes from Deja. I can imagine her on stage dressed all in black lace, flowing sleeves, dancing with the music, entrancing with her presence, mesmerising with her words. The band backing this presence with their own. Trance. Like. Song. 

Highway On The Ceiling. Gritty, dirty, get down low and vibe hard on this one. There is most definitely a real “The Automaton” sound through each and every track. Similar guitar and vocal vibes flow effortlessly throughout each and every song. They have most definitely created their own sound by harnessing and taking influence from their personal taste in music and style in songwriting to find their final form in the eleven tracks featured on ‘The Exit’. 

Heartquake is sooo sludgy and dark in the first few notes. Fi’s style of drumming has a simplicity yet such a huge impact, she really is the heartbeat of this band. I hear that loud and clear in this song. This song has strength and an anger to it too. It feels very heavily influenced by the female presence in this band. Deja and Fi take the reins here. And yet the band this track reminds me of a little is an all male presence, anyone else getting some Rage Against The Machine vibes here? Yes. I think so too.

Automaton. The band’s namesake. If you were unsure how to pronounce the name of the band, this song will help with that! The lyrics throughout the entire album are powerful and I love them all, but this song really grabs me with the words. Could be the bridge and the articulately spoken words, the space between the sounds and words. The space in between and the emotion in this one. Holy heck. 

Quick-to-assemble
With a rented heart
She’ll take your trash
And turn it into art
You’ll think she’s human
Till the day is done
But you fell in love 
With an Automaton
Automaton

The album wraps up with the latest release. Perfection. No Exit. Anyone would think this band thought really fucking carefully about how they were going to present this album, planning meticulously each release, each song, in what order, in how they would be presented to the world. The songs, the film clips, the artwork, the social media presence, the PR, the god damn MUSIC. All planned, signed, sealed and delivered to you, the listener, with love from THE AUTOMATON. This is how you release music.

This is ‘The Exit’. 

ART IS THE EXIT. CONNECTION IS THE EXIT. IRL IS THE EXIT. TOUCH IS THE EXIT. EYE CONTACT IS THE EXIT.  SUNLIGHT IS THE EXIT. BREATH IS THE EXIT.  MOVEMENT IS THE EXIT.  PSILOCYBIN IS THE EXIT. TRAVEL IS THE EXIT. STILLNESS IS THE EXIT. KINDNESS IS THE EXIT.  COMPASSION IS THE EXIT. LOVE IS THE EXIT. VULNERABILITY IS THE EXIT. FREEDOM IS THE EXIT. GENEROSITY IS THE EXIT. EQUALITY IS THE EXIT. MUSIC IS THE EXIT. THE AUTOMATON IS THE EXIT. DEATH IS NOT THE EXIT. DEATH IS NOT THE EXIT. DEATH IS NOT THE EXIT.

The No Exit music video was produced by Hugh Whitehouse


‘The Exit’ was mixed by Steve Kempnich and mastered by Michael Lynch. It was recorded in January at Airlock Studios. The artwork for the album and singles was created by Sam Dunn {Insta: @samisdunn} ‘The Exit’ will be officially released on 08/10/2021 and will be available on all listening and streaming platforms. Follow the bands socials to be kept up to date. Check out the poster below for tour dates.


Photo Credit: Mike Rankin


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