I love this album. I wasn’t really expecting anything, and surprise, I was pleasantly surprised with well-written, catchy pop songs that evoke The Who (The Who Sell Out era) as well as fine anglophile American bands like The Smithereens. This album has everything I like in a pop band, catchy harmonies, good melodies, and fine lyrics. Too often, a band that aspires to be pop sounds like a pale imitation of Cheap Trick or Big Star. But not on this album! All the band members take turns singing and one of them bears an uncanny resemblance to Tom Verlaine or David Byrne.
Two of my favorite tracks on this record are “Supersonic Baby (In Disguise)” and “Lighthouse.” Catch the opening lines of “Supersonic Baby”:
“She’s got lugubrious charms, a skull tattoo on her arm/And vegetarian ways, a penchant for pumpkin shoes and/Post-industrial blues and sometimes counting the stars•“
This track has a soaring chorus that is simply catching and uses a fuzzed out guitar. Besides, who doesn’t like a song that uses the word “lugubrious.!” My other favorite track, “Lighthouse,” opens with an acoustic guitar and when the band reaches the chorus, here comes the string section. I am a sucker for those baroque pop elements where strings are merged with a pop sensibility.
Lastly, the track “Ready?” is certainly a piece of pop heaven. I firmly believe that the elements that make a song timeless are the juxtaposition of disparate elements. Lyrics that are wistful with a poppy summertime feel. Music that is beautiful, vibrant, and yet somehow aware of the effervescence of youth. This track has these characteristics in spades. Incredible.
If you are a fan of sixties influenced pop music or Big Star or even some elements of Brit pop, you will surely love Autoliner. This is a solid album without one bit of fat. Buy it, buy it, buy it!