Head Automatica - Decadence (Cover Artwork)

Head Automatica

Decadence (2004)

Warner Bros.

Daryl Palumbo is widely known for overreaching with too many side projects. Primarily known for his time in post-hardcore pioneers Glassjaw, Palumbo has been involved with more incomplete side projects than, well, probably anyone in the entire music industry. Collaborative efforts to produce hip-hop, dance, and hardcore records by Palumbo are claimed annually, and he rarely delivers. However, in 2004, Palumbo finally followed through with one of his many projects, creating Decadence with producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura at the helm of the project.

With Decadence, Palumbo created a scene of his own. Following the release of this record came bands like Men, Women, & Children and Young Love, respectively comprised of another Glassjaw member and Recover's frontman but both essentially ex-post-hardcore dudes dipping their hand in the dance-rock genre, as well as bands like We Are the Fury, a band which embodies all of the garage influence contained in this record. In addition, the record helped spawn a legion of Palumbo followers and associates called Cardboard City. Simply put, for such a modest record, Decadence's influence is incredible.

Decadence relies heavily on synth-heavy dance beats and Palumbo's smooth crooning vocals. Head Automatica showed no signs of the heavy melodic hardcore and rock of Glassjaw; it sounded absolutely unlike anything Palumbo had created before.

None of the tracks suffer from sameness and the record is certainly not monotone. From the fast, dare I say "punk" of the opener, "At the Speed of a Yellow Bullet," to the garage rock of "I Shot William H. Macy," with the percussion-heavy "Brooklyn Is Burning" and pure power-pop of "Beating Heart Baby," Decadence keeps a first-time listener's ear wondering what Palumbo will deliver next.

Other highlights include "King Caeser" with its light beat and infectious vocals, "The Razor," which delivers a much needed dark pop-punk flavor to the middle of the record, the piano-reliant "Solid Gold Telephone," and the almost hip-hop "Head Automatica Sound System." Also of note is Tim Armstrong of Rancid glory's guest spot on "Dance Party Plus."

If the pure pop-rock of Head Automatica's latter effort, Popaganda, didn't hook you, maybe the more exciting dance/garage route taken by Decadence will. Worth a go if you're a Glassjaw/Palumbo enthusiast, or if you just like dance-rock.