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Amsterdams: Automatic EP

Reviewed By: Sophie Hall
Label: One Music
Format: CDS

It must be nice being the Amsterdams. Your 4 track LP has just come out, you’re writing powerful punchy songs with promise (I think I just had an alliteration seizure), and you're new and upcoming in the UK – but you're from Romania!

So all in all – a good start for the Amsterdams – who have released ‘Automatic’ – their first EP.

Now - not to read too much into the title however – but on first listen to me the band sounded exactly that. Automatic. Their sound appeared to be over processed, like data spewing out from a traditional indie band song generator. One band that popped into my head as a comparison was Hard Fi. Hard Fi for God's sake ! That should never be something that any potentially great band are compared to.

But I wanted to be wrong – I wanted to be proven so very embarrassingly wrong. And thankfully for the Amsterdams – I was that. It’s all in the chorus. Each song has a secret weapon that makes these tracks soar out of the Hard Fi School of ‘How to use power chords and shouty vocals and make a bland rock band’ to the Interpol Academy of beautiful melodic guitars, crashing vocals, intelligent lyrics and neat, but seemingly hazy production.

The first time I realsied that was delving into track 3 of the album – which is 'Lights Out'. Out of the four, this is probably the most melodic and mellow that the LP has to offer. From the melodious guitars and soaring atmospheric production – the track is reminiscent of bands such as Mew as well as Interpol. It is this track that displayed the band's diversity.With guitars that clamber into an eventual climax of towering vocals and harmonious riffs, it is without sight a triumph.

It is then I saw the stand out moments that the other tracks had to offer. 'Suffering and Surfing' returns to the bands strict riffs and staccato vocals which I initially found to be ever so slightly grating, but it is also vital to appreciate the sheer force that the band put into their music. The chorus’ softer moments contrast heavily with the haunting screams that follow and really puts the listener in its place.

That power and force crosses over into their lyrics also. "Robots rule this modern age…./I like your haircut/Can I have it" demands lead vocalist Andrei on leading track 'She’s Automatic '– which although it is probably the catchiest track on the EP (Complete with woowoowoos, which will please the Kaiser Chief fans listening to this…) has some amateurish moments in the off-beat guitar riffs that are just a little too off-beat for the song’s overall snappy structure.

Nonetheless – overall the EP works in the Amsterdams’ favour. There are plenty of moments that show a truly prolific and exciting new guitar band, that certainly overrule these amateurish flaws. So if you like cool hip and up coming bands which are actually decent – I would suggest snapping them up, before the tracks snap up your stereo instead!

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