New is Beautiful REVIEWS OF:
(8 April 2010 - CD)

When I reviewed this New York quartet's debut EP, they hadn't settled on a style yet, but two of their five songs were pretty good. On their first LP, they're a little more stylistically consistent, though still with a bit of a split personality, moving from lo-fi near the garage rock end of the spectrum to mid-fi pop with keyboards (the synthesizer really doesn't fit into the musical ethos at work here!) and harmony vocals and occasional jangle-rock. The songwriting's gotten more consistent, and once again there's a standout track, the mid-tempo "Talk to Me," a sort of amiably gentle power-pop tune.

-Steve Holtje

Automatic Children's anthemic, drum-fueled rock doesn't back down. Just when you think they've gone and given you the biggest blaster with their first track and single "Coming Over Me", they roll on up with "Solitude", singer/guitarist Crista Giuliani bringing on her heady Joan Jett-style sneer. Creeping guitars on "The First Time" take a gritty, lo-fi turn, giving a breather at the disc's halfway mark, and then "Little Stars", its guitars laced a bit with "Lust For Life" inspiration, brings on another barnstormer, this time fronted by singer/guitarist Adam Lippman, who has quite a smooth croon. Automatic Children are from NYC (with a show during CMJ 2010), but sound more like real deal rockers you'd discover somewhere in the middle of America, who have all the time in the world to polish their full-frontal songs.

-Selina S.

I've been listening to this New York band called Automatic Children.

If I had to pin down their music - and it would be tough - I'd have to say that it's like a cross between the Rolling Stones and the Vivian Girls.

Evident are the Stones influence on songs like 'Estrella', with the thumping bass playing tight with the drums. Of the songs I've heard, they have the lo-fi slush, the grungey, gritty quality we all enjoy, which also can be found in Velvet Underground records. They wouldn't seem out of place playing in Warhol's Factory. Maybe it's the 'New York' in them?

I read a review of this album recently, that said Automatic Children sound like everything else that's coming out of Brooklyn these days. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Brooklyn holds all kinds of styles of bands, and though it gets pinned down as the birthplace of Grizzly Bear and TV on the Radio, musicians who are actively in the scene, know its variety.

The band- Automatic Children mixes a unique batch of influences, some might say shouldn't be mixed, others will "get it". There is an obvious blend of late 80's/early 90's Hard Rock with current Indie Rock-isms and a touch of 80's Pop sensibilities. The 80's part would be the lyrics. They are not trying to revolutionize Poetry in Rock and Roll, but leaning the other way, toward singalongs and catchy hooks. Lyrically, they are more similar to Duran Duran or The Psychedelic Furs. Musically, they're not unlike Girl/Guy groups of the 90's, like Versus or Butterglory. Imagine your favorite Indie band doing the best of Bon Jovi. That's what separates this band from the others in their category- they do what they want, without second guessing their hipster points or record store clout.

For a debut album, it represents all the qualities this band has to offer in a Pop/Punk setting with an overall production reminiscent of The Replacements. They are constantly working at finding the balance between Pop and Punk Rock.

Two notable tracks that stand out - "Coming over me" and "Be Here Now". The first song showcases both lead singers, who have very different styles. Adam- the dude, sings like a cross between Anton Newcombe and Sylvester Stallone, voicing his baritone tough-guy holler up against Crista- the girl. Crista handles the high harmonies and lead vocals with an innocence and sincerity of a true Pop star. The combination of the two work well, and I don't mean in a "Rhinestone" movie Stallone/Dolly Parton way, although I'd like to see more sequin suits in Brooklyn bands these days.

The second track noted, is "Be Here Now". First off, this is the title of a very famous Oasis song, but surprisingly brings to mind, the band- Ride, who's core member (Andy Bell) was the bass player for Oasis. Is this supposed to be a nod to the Maharishi existential quote- "Be Here Now"? Is the song intentionally rivaling Oasis, by way of The Pixies double harmonies and a gnarly bass and drum breakdown? Perhaps, they've never heard the Oasis song, or like the band for that matter. But it's hard not to compare the two.

All in all, the band passes with flying colors for a debut LP. And if you listen to an eclectic mix of music, but put the need to ROCK-OUT before anything else, give this album a listen!

A patchy offering, worth checking out through the website if you ask me, to cherry pick the excellent tracks such as opener "Coming Over Me" and the bouncy "Little Stars". Listen before you buy "Estrella" and save your hearing, it's awful. Automatic Children write a decent indie-rock tune and the male/female combination works well... in combination. I have filched "Be Here Now" for the iPod, but its not an Oasis cover, rather a standout head nodder that will have you reaching for that little screen to remind yourself who made this slice of nice. Automatic Children are, if anything, a little too polite. There is the potential for aggression in their lyrics that they would do well to inject into the music.

Carl J.

Before handing me Automatic Children's debut album New is Beautiful, WGTB Music Board Director Christian said this: "This record sounds pretty much just like everything coming out of Brooklyn right now. Except for the lyrics, their lyrics are actually pretty cool. There, I've essentially written your review for you." Now you make the call, here's what I've got on New is Beautiful:

Automatic Children sounded so familiar at first listen that I had to wonder if I'd heard them before—no, they are a little-known (at least outside of their borough) up-and-coming band out of NYC, so not that. Their music, however, plays straight up into the genre of poppy lo-fi post-punk—a genre that feels very much like home to me, after I dwelled there for much of my freshman and sophomore year of high school. If I had heard this album during that phase, it would have undoubtably, immediately become a close favorite.

Now, however, my taste seems to have mainly moved out of this genre, though I still relished the head-bop-worthy jams like "Solitude." The band seems to do best on this song and similar high-energy rockers, and loses itself a bit on more withdrawn, female-vocal-leading tracks like "The First Time." Their sound is essentially nothing too new or original, but they execute it perfectly fine. I found this old rating system from Pitchfork's early beginnings as a website, and I'd definitely put New is Beautiful at "not brilliant (7-7.4), but nice enough."

Oh, the lyrics. Automatic Children, +100 points for being clever. Lyrics is the domain in which this album shines: it is essentially the perfect blithe, caustic, sarcastic break-up album for those who don't feel like pitying themselves. "What is it going to take your mortally inclined wooden stake to tear apart your heart?" BOOM BOOM.

—Fiona Hanly
"Sweet N Flo," Mondays 12-1 on WGTB

WLUR 91.5 FM-LEXINGTON, VA - 4/13/10
A very solid release from a band that was named one of the top NYC bands by The Deli magazine a whopping two times. Deli writes, "Unselfconsciously, Automatic Children play psych-influenced and alternative rock in the style of some of the 90s' best—a comparison to Brian Jonestown Massacre (without all the crazy) wouldn't be totally out of order."

Well put. Raw and rollicking, but if you're a fan of the slower stuff, check out the fantastic "Be Here Now."

Posted by Michael