Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review -- AUTOCONDO -- Self Titled

AUTOCONDO
Self-titled
Independent
8-out-of-10
This is a CD with a sort of pasted on theme. The Toronto-based band wants to listener to climb into a vision of a possible future world, a world where the economy is such that people are forced to live in their cars. The 12 songs here loosely relating to what such a world might be like.
The idea is somewhere between tongue-in-cheek promotion, and effective visionary tool for the CD.
Certainly with a little imagination the songs work in terms of a social commentary on a bleaker automobile condominium world.
That said, you really don't need to paint the overlaying picture to make the music work.
The music has some definite social commentary wrapped in the lyrics, which puts the style somewhere between 1960's era pop, and folk. The lean is toward the pop side, except that you hear the folk writing sensibilities. In fact, on a cut such as Send Her Back, the music actually gets rather country.
If you are getting the feeling Autocondo is a bit scattered in approach, you are only partly right. There are multiple elements at play, with various ones taking the spotlight on any given track, yet each song connects well enough to the next to hold the package together.
Neil Chapman and Tony Duggan-Smith are the voices of Autocondo, and they offer up some smooth harmonies, which again is reminiscent of 1960's pop.
In terms of instrumentation, the mix is simple, straight forward, and effective. Both singers play guitar, and are joined by Russell Walker, again on guitar and vocals, with Steve Heathendom on drums, Matt Horner on keyboards and Glenn Olive on bass. As a unit they do a nice job.
The best cut here is When the Dust Falls, a song which fits in well with the aforementioned theme.
Crimes is another song that has the darkness of a future of auto condos, and vocally has some full-bodied harmonies which stand out. Crimes is a long song that really takes you into the world the band is creating.
This is a CD that admittedly at first listen didn't grab me, but subsequent listens took me into the lyrics and the subtleties of the harmonies and music, and guess what, I like it. This is music which will grow on you.
Check them out at www.autocondo.ca
-- CALVIN DANIELS

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 15, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

1 comment:

Laurel Federbush said...

Actually, the singers are Tony Duggan-Smith and Russell Walker. Neil Chapman plays guitar. I think you're a bit stingy with the praise--it's a f@#%!in' great album!--but thanks for reviewing it.