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Popaganda by Head Automatica

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Reviewed on 16th June 2006.



By Head Automatica

Daryl Palumbo (formerly of Glassjaw) returns with his new band's second full length album after 2004's strong, if rather inconsistent, debut effort Decadence. Popaganda is a rather different beast than its predecessor. Whereas Decadence found Palumbo experimenting with drum loops, electronic effects and collaborations with DJs like Felix Da Housecat, Popaganda shifts the dynamic to that of a fully fledged band, with 13 slices of sunny, catchy power-pop.

Opener and first single Graduation Day kicks the album off to a fine start, as Palumbo demonstrates his rather impressive vocal ability against a backdrop of crunchy riffs and a stadium-sized chorus. Laughing At You maintains this level of quality as Palumbo cheekily sings 'I think they're laughing at your band / I'm feelin' sorry for your band'. As a statement of intent, these opening tracks mark the arrival of Head Automatica as a band that might just stop the word 'pop' being used as a derogatory term.

Unfortunately, Nowhere Fast and Lying Through Your teeth are less impressive. It's not that these songs are bad, but they fall into the same trap that made Decadence inconsistent, and just end up being rather bland. Whilst they tick all the boxes: catchy chorus, memorable riffs etc., they just don't meet the standards found elsewhere on the album. God, for example, is possibly one of the best pop songs you'll hear all year, Curious is the kind of track that makes you glad to be alive, and Scandalous sounds like it was made for lighters-in-the-air, sing along stadium moments.

Popaganda, then, is the sound of a band cementing its sound and providing a more cohesive, consistent and enjoyable album than its debut. Ultimately, not every song here is a classic, and you might perhaps find yourself yearning for something with a little more depth, but Popaganda is as good a modern pop record as you're likely to hear for quite a while.



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On 13th October 2006 at 17:58 Anonymous 6077 wrote...

Daryl is not formerly of Glassjaw. you should probably attempt to do some research, considering that he has stated in many interviews that Glassjaw is still together, and he is going to be recording with them very soon.


On 13th October 2006 at 18:16 Dave LMS wrote...


But if anyone were to do any research (google) they would find endless statements using the phrase "formerly of Glassjaw".

That does not mean you don't have more up to date knowledge, Kerrigan, and we all know how things change over time - one's plans one day might not be the same when you wake up the next.

Anyway, here's the clincher for me ... without wanting to prove a point but the Head Automatica *official* website and the *official band biography* on their official site (the biog as sent to press, etc) says, and I quote:

"... the former frontman of angsty alt-hardcore band Glassjaw."

The writer at LMS may have got the wrong end of the stick, but maybe the 'this isn't quite true' awareness campaign ought to start with getting the band's official website up to date!?

Afterall, where else would you expect to be the authority source (when doing 'research') than the official website itself.



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