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Autovaughn

Space

(self-released; US: 4 Apr 2006; UK: Available as import)

Space is an appropriate title for Autovaughn’s latest full-length offering, given that it’s all that comes to my head when trying to come up with a lasting impression of the album.  This is pretty typical modern radio-rock by way of early ‘80s U2 production: a treble-heavy, almost tinny feel that puts a lot of emphasis on some decidedly underwhelming guitar parts.  This isn’t to say that there’s anything inherently wrong with it, it’s just that there’s not a single exceptional chorus, not a single profound word sung, not one potential out-of-nowhere hit single—just 4/4 time signatures, guitars that jangle and strum, and a vocalist evoking a less dramatic David Bowie.  Opener “One More Time” is an energetic bit of rock-outery, and closer “Hell of a Place” is an admirable attempt at “epic” (that is, over-six-minute) songwriting that gets there by flipping the song from a mid-tempo snooze into a Franz Ferdinand-esque rock-disco song, but everything in between suffers from too many stop-starts, too much feigned sincerity, and not enough actual hook.  This might fly as a first purchase for a Clear Channel-weaned listener who’s looking for something “indie” to listen to, but really, it’s no better (or worse, to be fair) than typical corporate radio fodder.

Rating:

Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.


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