Music that floats past the hollow city monoliths- In the middle of Michigan is the city of Flint- a place that's been treated unkindly. Once a vibrant, blooming metropolis, coursing with a General Motors lifeblood, it is now a gray desert plagued with crime, unemplyoment and depression. The once-site of the 'Autoworld' theme park was recently voted as the #3 most miserable city in the U.S. In their own way, Automobile pays homage to the once auto-industry hub of Flint. The band is a group of friends that came together from a smattering of Flint's curby suburbs. Jenny Toms, poet/singer, provides a voice for her evincive poems- literary rivulets, laden with imagery. Starting with the spoken-word verses of 'Sestina,' the album's tone is set as it grasps for that liberation so well captured by the writing of E.E.(Cummings) and Elizabeth Bishop. 'The Lull,' a stomping pop anthem, with it's chopping piano, gearwork drums, and hacking guitar chords, is a political poem rife with wry stabs about Flint's economic desolation and the 'mallification' of America in general. 'Listless' and 'Gasoline,' are a glimpse of the suburbs and of Flint itself, both restlessly seeking another locale- be it solace for the body or for the mind. The Smiths-esque guitar lines of 'Listless' juxtapose suburbia with the imagery of a peaceful wilderness. 'Gasoline' is perhaps the first time the Bronte sisters get their own gritty rocker. The album continues with 'Japhy,' a tribute to Kerouac's Dharma Bums. 'RWB,' wraps up the state of American politics in an anthemic piano framework, and 'Here is the Bad News,' with it's somber violin and lush layers of guitar, tingles with melancholia. Finally, with 'Detroit, an Insect Food,' the crescendo builds into a pop chorus that calls again and again for the 'word bombs' of Karl Marx and Allen Ginsberg when, again and again, Capitalism fails. A highlights of the album is the closing tune- the innocent, acoustic,'Old Song,' which reminds us of the times when children would awaken full of optimism each morning. The song features wallet and pocket change percussion- Maybe it's the foreshadowing of adulthood responsibility and the corruption of money? Either that or the jingle just sounds right. The lilting vocal melodies and jangly guitars take the cue from such landmark favorites as R.E.M. and The Smiths, and Automobile has drawn comparisons to the Sundays, 10,000 Maniacs, and the Pretenders- while creating something original in the process. Members of Automobile went on to play as May/June, Lingua Franca, The Pantones, and Matthew Dear. Produced independently and warmly recorded on analog reel-to-reel equipment in South Lyon, Michigan. Sixteen-page booklet with photos and lyrics included.
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