Telephone’s 12 entries on Automatic are a sturdy, if uninventive, collection of synth-rock. The selections mostly want to soar but Eric Hedford’s stolid vocals confine them to mid-flight status. The leadman and ex-Dandy Warhols member makes a sport of stymieing momentum and deepsixing choruses. On the opener “Shout About It”—seemingly excitable terrain—Hedford delivers the refrain flatly, almost with ironic detachment. He’s staid when a surge is called for. Even the thick guitar swirl of “The Visitor Pt. 1 and 2” doesn’t stir him up. Automatic‘s rock-driven sonics vary from angular to hooky to strum-happy. The movement between each is fluid and showcases steadfastly competent musicianship. But when Telephone reaches for a bolder effect, Hedford’s buzz-killing vox is usually their undoing.
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// Sound Affects
"The man whose songs were recorded by Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, David Allan Coe, The Highwaymen, and countless others succumbs to time’s cruel cue that the only token of permanence we have to offer are the effects of shared moments and memories.READ the article