Quiet, Lovely – Automata, Musica

Quiet, Lovely
Automata, Musica

At first, Automata, Musica may sound like a number of predictable pop albums. You really could not be blamed for putting it into the stereo and quickly thinking, “Aw, hell. This is just another bedroom indie-pop album created by a couple of guys with dusty old instruments and too much Death Cab for Cutie playing in their apartment.” But if you dismiss it that quickly, you will be missing out on something that turns out to be much more intriguing than it first appears to be.
The biggest highlights come early. “Saturday Night” is a lovely number that blends simple acoustic guitar strums, a spattering of quirky electronics, fuzzy vocals, and a simple drumbeat to create the sort of song that feels familiar yet refreshing all at once. “Demise” feels like the sort of slightly twisted pop song John Vanderslice might have written, while “Overambitious” gets a little more off-kilter, introducing the listener to the sort of peculiar time signatures and strange arrangements that will work their way in and out of many of the songs that follow.
From this point on, there are plenty of bright spots, with a few not-so-bright ones mixed in as the songs bounce from one style to another, leaving you feeling a bit scattered because the vibe of this album is all over the place. There is the perky pop of songs like “Breakdown” and “What a Good Boy Am I,” which features an opening tidbit that sounds like the Promise Ring’s Davey Von Bohlen wrote it, while tunes like “Ante” and “Over You” are simple little lullabies. “Low” is a swaying and acoustic back-porch romp, while “You Did Not Flinch” is a bit darker and grittier. “Thick as Thieves” is a goofy little tune, complete with rim taps and throbbing bass lines, while “My Fault” is a dramatic piano ballad of sorts. “Meridiam” is a real beauty that comes later in the album, a lulling and heartbreaking number that builds and fades over and over again, doing a fine job of working its way deep into you. On the other hand, it is followed by the acoustic and overly repetitive “Sleeping and Waking,” which steals the sweet taste in your mouth and replaces it with something more bland. By the time the folky yet thunderous “No Worries” closes things out, you are left with a slightly puzzled look on your face.
One of the problems with all of this is that the disc is far too long. Why it wasn’t trimmed down to one really solid album, or even a solid album and a teaser EP, is beyond me. There are 16 tracks in total, and the album runs for well over an hour, taking what could have been an even more impressive album than it winded up being and turning it into one that can be slightly tedious at times.
Hailing from Texas but not sounding like any Texas band I have ever heard of, Quiet, Lovely has created something really interesting its first time out. The band has played very few shows outside of its hometown of Waco, but this self-released effort could perk up a few ears and garner the attention needed to branch out a bit. It may take multiple listens for the unique nuances of this album to come out and play, but they will if you give them a chance.