The Automatic – This is a Fix album review

4 stars (out of 5)

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The Automatic return with their 2nd album, This is a Fix, the follow up to their debut album, Not Accepted Anywhere. The Welsh rockers have seen a change in their lineup after Alex Pennie left due to band differences, with Paul Mullen, who was previously in the band yourcodenameis:milo, being brought in as his replacement. I think this will prove to be a positive move, with Pennie’s irritating screaming on backing vocals on the first album not fitting in with the music of the band.

“Monster” was the stand out hit from the debut album, and ultimately was a large part of the records success, with the rest of the album struggling to meet expectation. But This is a Fix is an improvement. The opening track, “Responsible Citizen”, certainly shows a level of maturity from the first album. It’s not as in your face and without the aggressive influence of Pennie, it seems the band have mellowed and this is allowing them to create better music. It’s not a ground breaking first track but I’m definitely intrigued to hear more.

“Steve McQueen”, the first single is next up, and I’d say this is the only song on the album that has similarities to the first album. I’m sure it will keep The Automatic faithful happy, but for me it’s really refreshing to see the band move in a different direction. Having said that this is a track that I’ve been playing non-stop with the volume up to the max, so I’m not complaining.

The album has a lighter feel to it, it’s not as aggressive as the first record, and this definitely works better. It’s more dominating as it doesn’t feel as forced. “Magazines” certainly showcases a new Automatic, with a middle-paced, slick groove; it almost sounds like Maroon 5. “Ships” is also a different style for the band, with a cracking chorus accompanied by great drums and strong vocals and guitars. “In the Mountains” continues the trend with a slower paced beat and soft vocals. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still got a rocky feel to it, just not as aggressive.

My favourite track from the album is the record title “This is a Fix”. It’s got a great chorus and has a slightly quicker pace to it, which works nicely. The instruments are used as a backing tool, rather than taking over like what occurred in the first record, and this allows front man Rob Hawkins to stamp his authority on the song.

“Sleep walking” is also a favourite, with a great guitar introduction leading into yet another catchy chorus. This new direction for the band brings me to think of similarities with The All American-Rejects, and “Secret Police” is another pleasing tune to add to the record. This is another track that with the volume turned up will have you hooked. “Light Entertainment” is a nice track to end with, and this is again a positive effort, with Prodigy-esque attributes.

Overall, I think The Automatic should be pretty pleased with the end product. They have certainly progressed and shown their diversity with This is a Fix, and may shock a few people in the process. It wouldn’t surprise me if this record becomes a fix in the charts in the not too distant future.