Sound — 8
Nowdays the word "pop" has a very narrow and far not good meaning. Head Automatica brings it back to basics when popular music (which, as we all forgot, is what means) was much more variable and enjoyable, than today's American Idols. The idea of converting back to popular lies in frontman's Daryl Palumbo's dark past -- after fronting an alt-hardcore band Glassjaw, he brightened up to the fact that he's over acting like 18, studded belts, wining and black hair over one eye. It was time for a real pop deal, time to turn ridden to death Sex, Drugs, Rock-n-Roll into Sex, Drugs, Pop! With his fellow mates from American Nightmare he formed Head Automatica in 2004. After highly received debut album Decadence the band turned up with even more rebellious and bright Popaganda. The CD kicks off with a lead-off single -- Graduation Day, which is as well a very seasonable track on the record, scheduled to be out in June. The song is so convincing and blasting with energy that it makes you want to be at graduation or at least watch one of American Pie movies. The first part of the album has happy up-beat feeling with Curious being the best example. Tracks tend to the minor side more as the record gets closer to the end. Lying Through Your Teeth sounds like they just forgot to end the song or the producer cut it half-way through as it was too long. Piano and shimmering organ line, appearing in most songs, complete the best traditions of UK's pop. Guitars are gritty and sharp; plain structures, three-chord songs -- this is definitely not a place to look for guitar inspiration. Having learnt the mistakes on their debut effort, Head Automatic asked the producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance and The All-American Rejects) to help them to focus and to sculpture the work. Together they blend all kinds of styles that has ever been close to pop -- from punk to doo-wop and disco, which all together in their interpretation results as power pop. Thus album appeared sounding organic with perky tracks and infectious melodies.
Lyrics — 7
Daryl Palumbo tries everything but boredom. Sometimes his ideas come to absurd. Like singing in Nowhere Fast sounds more like vocal exercises Try to hit as many notes as you can, than actually something like a melody. Except for this song everything else is happy sing-alongs with lyrics so dumb that it's even funny. Laughing At You is an anthem for new loser bands -- Words feeling really sorry about your band/Like really sorry for your band should cut deep those dieing to sing a deal. To multiply the impression Palumbo's vocals sound like he's almost puking.
Overall Impression — 8
Popaganda is a tribute to '70s and '80s UK pop, owing much to Elvis Costello. The CD is full of punk energy and happy melodies that would cheer you up if you're feeling grumpy. Having released the album, the guys proved they've got serious intentions to change the meaning of in people's minds. Head Automatic may not be the revolution in pop music, but it's a good substitute for those looking for easy happy listening. Being new to pop, the band's still looking for the sound, sometimes using old cliches and the whole image still sounds a bit uncompleted. But these guys have got style and seems like they know what they're doing! Overall, pop rocks!