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Head Automatica - Popaganda (Cover Artwork)

Head Automatica

Head Automatica: PopagandaPopaganda (2006)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: AubinAubin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Darryl Palumbo isn't the first former hardcore singer to do a power-pop project, but don't hold that against him. With Head Automatica, the amount of recorded output has already reached the same place as Glassjaw, so this is probably the last time it'll be fair to refer to him as ex-Glassjaw, and so.
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Darryl Palumbo isn't the first former hardcore singer to do a power-pop project, but don't hold that against him. With Head Automatica, the amount of recorded output has already reached the same place as Glassjaw, so this is probably the last time it'll be fair to refer to him as ex-Glassjaw, and so I'll get it out of the way: Glassjaw was a pretty great little band; one that did the freakouts better than most, and by their second album had expanded their sound to the point where it felt like the conflicting songwriting forces in the band would definitely break them up, as it eventually did.

Shortly after that, Palumbo announced Head Automatica, a band which earned many-a-hyphenated description: disco-punk, dance-punk, pop-punk and of course, some fairly nasty reactions as well. The band's first album, Decadence, was quite a catchy beat-driven affair, relying as much on the electronics of Dan the Automator as it did on Palumbo's Elvis Costello-like singing voice. With Dan gone, the band has switched from a beat-heavy dancy affair to straight up power-pop, and on Popaganda, Palumbo owes even more to Costello than just his voice.

Tracks like "Graduation Day" with its ringing keys and acoustic-over-electric guitars are only a guitar upstroke away from sounding like the bespectacled Mr.MacManus's earliest records. Of course, that works rather well for the most part, but some unfortunate daliances from power-pop into full-on hair metal plagarism ("Lying Through Your Teeth") are almost painfully derivative. "Nowhere Fast" is one of the most interesting tracks on the record, as Palumbo fully includes some of the unusual melodies of Glassjaw's Worship and Tribute with his newer sounds. With "Scandalous," Daryl aims for `50s R&B, "Curious" is straight up power-pop.

The most fully realized track is certainly "Million Dollar Decision," which is a finely arranged and guitar-heavy track. It's mid-tempo, sugary sweet and boasts some of the strongest melodies on the record. The only really Decadence-sounding track is "Egyptian Musk," which is heavily electronic and has an `80s club vibe to it.

In the end, we have a band starting to find their voice but hasn't fully committed to their new sound or discovered what it is -- with far too many borrowed moments from Elvis Costello and his new wave bretheren. There are some fine tracks here, but there is still significant room to grow.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
coldwaffles (March 10, 2007)

Excellently poppy. I can listen to this album endlessly.

freaky003 (June 19, 2006)

this cd should be called, "poopaganda"

Poison_Operation (June 15, 2006)

Dammit all to hell. That posting time limit is annoying as fuck, so I forgot to post the score when I tried to post again. Here's the score I was talking about in my previous post.

Poison_Operation (June 15, 2006)

I borrowed Decadence from a friend of mine, and listened to most of this album on that AOL stream someone mentioned earlier. I couldn't get into either one of these albums. The score is for both albums combined.

That said, replying to whoever said something about HA's Graduation song being played at high school graduations, my class did just that not more than a month ago. Goddamn, people in my class have a horrible fuckin' taste in music.

One final note from a Glassjaw fanboy: Bring back Glassjaw, dammit!

Anonymous (June 14, 2006)

that single they have is so obnoxious, it gets played all the time, and isn't getting any better.

I mean, how does someone in his age group write lyrics about graduation day. He looks like the singer for fastball in the video, i thought thats who it was.

not a horrible pop hook, but i cant hear it anymore or ill lose my mind.

wyzo

Anonymous (June 14, 2006)

It's not Glassjaw, but it certainly isn't bad. Just add cocaine.

Anonymous (June 14, 2006)

Million dolalr decision= favorite song, followed by god and scandalous.

aubin (June 14, 2006)

It's a fun record. Why does Daryl Palumbo have to be thought-provoking in everything he does? Why can't he just write pop songs?

I don't think I suggested that he had to be "thought provoking" just more coherent and tightly written. They're still figuring themsleves out, and that struggle was a little too obvious on the record.

A good pop song should be stuck in your head, these ones just fell out a little too quickly.

Anonymous (June 14, 2006)

"god" and "lying through your teeth" are great pop songs...i love this record.
-TOBB

benz (June 13, 2006)

not as good without Dan the Automator on board. Which I assume he isn't after hearing three of the songs.

I could be wrong.

Catchy...

-benz

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

this is a really fun album

bombshoes (June 13, 2006)

i listened to this on the AOL full album stream thing, i think the only track i kinda liked was egyptian musk.

come on glassjaw! third album! you can do it! i have faith in you.

quick, before the crohn's comes back and you cancel all your fucking tour dates again.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (June 13, 2006)

I love "lying through your teeth", "god" and "laughing at you", because i'm a sucker for a pop song....

But holy shit is the rest of this album trite.

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

and they suck as much as the new weezer, good call scott.

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

this album is as mediocre of a power pop outing and costello worship put to record as sugarcult but everyone loves palumbo and therefore won't admit it. this is sugarcult w/ palumbo singing. the end. i tried to get into it.

'scandalous is cool though.

paul

maverick (June 13, 2006)

It's a fun record. Why does Daryl Palumbo have to be thought-provoking in everything he does? Why can't he just write pop songs?

HA are the new (post-Matt Sharp) Weezer, in my book -- there might not be a deep meaning behind every song, but goddamn if every single one of 'em isn't catchy.

-Scott

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

at least you admitted they are power-pop and NOT PUNK.
why review something that doesn't qualify as either punk music or punk in the sense of what it represents?

this shit abides by every major label requirement issued to any lame band on a label.

no originality. no sense of urgency. no lyrical quality.

lame. shame on you, punknews, for posting this review.

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

they suck there just newwbiest trynna make money boooo!

iheartagainstme (June 13, 2006)

bring back dan the automator! you are nothing special without him!

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

I mildly enjoy this, I don't see myself listening to it often though. Maybe one more time and I'll delete it from my iPod to make room for more Talib Kweli.

That "God" song is awful.

Is Kweli puttign soemthing out this year?

R3venge_Therapy (June 13, 2006)

Glassjaw was absolutely awful, and this is just as bad. I hate his voice so goddamn much.

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

How dissapointing! Head Automatica was only good because of the danciness. This is pure shit and the cover art is fucking lame.

tylerdurden8136 (June 13, 2006)

what a disappointment.

colin (June 13, 2006)

i can't get into this or glassjaw.

BizzleBrizzle (June 13, 2006)

check out Silent Majority instead of this and glassjaw.

rkl (June 13, 2006)

this shit is as generic as glassjaw.

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

i thought that was going to be a link to AFI

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

Glassjaw isn't broken up.

Never say that! No!

superdude (June 13, 2006)

This review was pretty good, but here's how I would make it better:

1. Don't you mean, "Don't hold that Against Me!"

2. Serioulsy, put them down.

3. They're on eight labels?

4. 80s' club vide? What, like cocaine?

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

So Darryl Palumbo is trying to be what Vitamin C was to high School student 5-6 years ago?

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

I mildly enjoy this, I don't see myself listening to it often though. Maybe one more time and I'll delete it from my iPod to make room for more Talib Kweli.

That "God" song is awful.

- Kirby

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

your link is total bullshit. the lost patrol was a semi folk/rock group years ago. not recently did it become an awful rock pop band. decadence and even his demo was out before that.

Decadence wasn't power-pop; it was much more beat-based and dancey.

xcarlupanddiex (June 13, 2006)

i liked this album a lot

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

This band and album are absolutely bland (same as all of the other cookie-cutter faux-punk M2 bands out there), EXCEPT for the vocals. Granted, the Aubin is spot on in pointing out the Costello vocals. Maybe it's a sad statement on the current state of mainstream pop-punk to say it, but I thought it was super refreshing to have the singer not sound like all of the other contempoary vocalists, even if the band's music definitely does. That said, it's still recycled jibberish... just happens to be recycled from something that isn't what we hear ALL of the time with these generic chords.

reduced2teeth (June 13, 2006)

Erg... when are we gonna get a new Glassjaw album? :(

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

your link is total bullshit. the lost patrol was a semi folk/rock group years ago. not recently did it become an awful rock pop band. decadence and even his demo was out before that.

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

absolutely check out glassjaw.

but don't bother with this band, they suck horribly.

obviously just trying to cash in with a single that can be played at every graduation ceremony and party this year.

cash_money_hustla (June 13, 2006)

Was Glassjaw really that good? Worth checking out?

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

There are some okay pop tunes with this album but it's longevity expired much faster than their last album.

Ramo

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

I worked with a guy who always told me about this album as 'Popagandhi' ...he was a little confused, and yet I never corrected him.

This isn't very good either. I went to school with the keyboard player...yo, dude, your band sucks. But I don't have a band or anything outside my crappy job so I'll shut up.

BizzleBrizzle (June 13, 2006)

this shit's fucking awful, these lyrics are retarded, this CD is purely a cash grab. It'll be a huge one I'm sure.

Anonymous (June 13, 2006)

Hope its good!

FatTony (June 13, 2006)

Decadence was much better than this. This album wears out its welcome about 2/3 into the first listen.

Enter all the Glassjaw fanboys screaming for a reunion that is clearly not going to happen anytime soon.

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