Autodrone: 02-18-04 (independent, 2004)
Philadelphia seems to be a place with a growing underground music scene. With bands like Highspire lurking about the Phili scene, Philadelphia seems poised to burst at the seams with noise, noise, noise. Autodrone, with their current demo release 2-18-04, is adding to the noise pop arena of Phili’s music scene. This is a five-song ep full of guitar layers, sassy percussion and Siouxie Sioux-esque vocals.
“Toward Fever” is a driving, fast tempo song akin to early punk. Susanna Melendez‘ vocals work great with this song and the band seems really tight. Although this is so, I don’t think it’s the band’s strongest showing on the demo. “Blue Mind”, their second track, is definitely their best showing on the disc. This has the feel of Jesus and the Mary Chain or The Church with a fantastic backbeat on the drums. The percussion on this song really stands out and, if I had to describe it, I would say that it is somewhere between trip-pop and punk but more advanced in its intricacy.
“For Now” begins with distorted bass and noisy guitar. Of all the songs on the demo though, I find this song to need the most polishing. The song does not fit Melendez‘ vocal style. It doesn’t seem to be written with her in mind. Structurally, the song is strong, but it feels a bit hollow. Something needs to be done to this song to fill in the gaps and, perhaps, vocal phrasing or key needs to change to accommodate Melendez a bit more. “Entertainment” is also a great song structurally in its skeletal make-up. It also feels like it’s a bit hollow and I was expecting some more intricate sounds to fill the spaces in the song. One thing this song does is showcase the band’s ability to write great bridges. It has a fantastic eighties feel akin to The Police. “XO”, the final song on the ep, is also a strong showing on the disc. It has intricate bass work and a driving beat. Again, there are punk elements in the percussion, but with a trip-pop feel and confident vocals from Melendez. This is definitely a strong ending to their demo.
With this being a relatively new band, I view their demo as a test case for their songs. I really like the structure of their songs and Melendez brings fresh vocals to the indie-pop scene filled with falsetto and high pitched female vocals. With better production and recordings in the future, I think this band will shine. It seems to me that they are probably amazing live, but I had a hard time hearing both guitars on the disc. It seemed to me that they were either not using their whole arsenal of sound or it was not coming through in the recording. I am really looking forward to catching this band live and seeing how they progress in the coming years.