Autodrone – Strike A Match

Autodrone
Strike A Match

Right from the imposing combination of thudding drumbeat and guitar blizzard that is the intro to first and title track “Strike A Match”, it is quite obvious that this NY quartet are a force to reckon with. The song speeds up and the operatic swoop of Katherine Kennedy’s vocal takes what was already sounding like an attention grabbing pop punk track onto another level entirely. You could dance to this, its rhythmic structure spins and cartwheels while a melodic yet simultaneously off-kilter guitar riff warps things up nicely. As introductions go, “Strike A Match” is a compelling opener that had my entire attention from the word go, and as the pace doesn’t let up over the ensuing twelve tracks neither does Autodrone’s melodic sensibility or its often inspired experimentation.

These are no mere noiseniks. Autodrone songs are a combination of atonal effects-laden guitar and bass to which are added wall-of-sound electronics, topped off with one of the most remarkable vocal performances I’ve heard for several years; Autodrones’ songs are equally evocative and empowered and where other bands might choose to take a step or two back and throw in some acoustic balladry with which to seduce us into false states of supplication, Autodrone enliven its set with experimentalism. The ensuing audio collages, such as “‘100,000 Years Of Revenge” and “Moth Of July” are something few bands today seem to possess the will to accomplish, too much ProTooling having somehow broken an important link in the creative armoury of many similar groups producing music today. While some of this is redolent of (for example) Spacemen 3’s earlier work, or some of the more frenetic moments of the Pixies in their early 90s heyday, Autodrones’ psychotic energies are entirely its own, and the members are quite certainly a band greater than the sum of its parts.

But crucially, Autodrone is comprised of highly talented songwriters who continue upping the stakes throughout Strike A Match. “Can’t Keep These” takes us into familiar riffing territory then twists preconceptions wildly as Jeremy Alisauskas’ guitar chimes over a brooding keyboard that leads into a fantastical powerdriven scream of defiance. “With Arms Raised” captures the epic qualities that all great rock records need, and it doesn’t take much imagination to envisage Autodrone filling stadiums on the strength of material such as this. But last track “Pictures” undercuts all of this brilliantly, a wonderfully quirky piano ballad reconfigured into a monstrous statement of wild eyed eccentricity that only left me wanting to hear more. More there very certainly is from Autodrone: Strike A Match is an original and assured debut.