Head Automatica
"Popaganda"

(Warner Bros. Records 2006)Head Automatica - Popaganda

We are already more than halfway to 2010. Feeling a bit nostalgic yet? Head Automatica sure seems to be. The band's sophomore album "Popaganda" is an upbeat pop trip down memory lane that blends Elvis Costello style crooning with a healthy combination of pop reminiscent of the 80s and 90s.

When attempting straightforward pop rock, Head Automatica seems the most comfortable and the band comes out a head. Guitar riffs put an edgy, bouncy rhythm into "Laughing At You" while distinctly reminding of Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" as "Graduation Day" soars pleasantly by with smooth melodies. Similarly, "Lying Through Your Teeth" and the power ballad "Scandalous" show just what Head Automatic are clearly capable of. Elsewhere the band rehash familiar hooks and choruses on "She's Not It" and "Curious." It is as Head Automatica try to get fancy, putting a spin on the old standbys, that they get into murky territory. The heavily rhythmic "Nowhere Fast" and "Egyptian Musk" try a bit too hard to get you moving, the latter proving cringe worthy. On "K HORSE," the band seems to completely abandon pop in favor of a buzzing rock sound.

Mostly harmless pop, "Popaganda" is bouncy and generally fun throughout. But Head Automatica's sophomore album is also relatively unmemorable and continually derivative. Upbeat pop with a rock twist has been done before and done better but fans of feel good music that they can easily sing along to might want to give "Popaganda" a gander.

C

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