Controlling the Famous - Automatic City (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Controlling the Famous

Automatic City (2006)

The Militia Group

I'm pleased as anyone to see The Militia Group step outside their box to release the debut full-length (following a stunning number of 4 straight EPs dating back to 2002) from Los Angeles, CA's Controlling the Famous, a band who simply seems to tilt their heads northern for influence but regardless has put together a compelling slab of digestable indie rock with Automatic City, a definite changeup from a label known usually for catering to the emo/pop-punk crowds.

Within the first few seconds of opener "Detox" you should have somewhat of an idea of what you're in for, as it's a riff that sounds exactly like a faster version of the one from mewithoutYou's "Disaster Tourism." Or more directly, Fugazi's "Waiting Room." Regardless, it's that type of post-hardcore / indie rock line flirtation the album dances upon for the most of its duration, usually coming off something like a heavier but equally groove-oriented Minus the Bear ("Pyromaniac"'s popping bass-lines, lightly bouncing octaves and distorted fertilizing would prove this best).

Like said, it's not all jagged aggression and temper tantrums -- none at all, really. CTF take more solemn, reflective and somber moods in mid-tempo affairs, like "Highway Parking Lot," which in particular seems to establish the same type of dreamy scenery MTB convey so well at times while still offering a shoulder-swaying, catchy song. And that's really what makes Automatic City work so well: A number of jumpy, mildly energetic songs that manage to retain a sing-along quality to them.

Automatic City might be a little more straightforward than what I was expecting, and while comparisons can get a bit obvious, Controlling the Famous have harnessed their creative energies into a complete album definitely worth a few listens.

Highway Parking Lot
If You Die
Two Sides