The Wild Stares return with – Automatic Writing Machine, an LP that earns its name because it sounds like it wrote itself from having been around long enough to know how. This is not necessarily a concept or progressive rock album, but at the same time it is full of forward moving tracks that cruise through time and space together, so it can be taken more seriously but it is not without its playfulness either. Instead of stripping the past, they add to it with present and future awareness and a respectable homage to former longtime drummer, Kyle C. Kyle of the Motels who passed away in 2015.
Not having missed the train driven by The Wild Stares, but also not having stopped to watch their view of the world either, this album turns out to be a mighty fresh breath of air and so to these musicians. I might be recognizing that rather late in the game but so what, I was able to catch up on some of what I was missing to come to this whole conclusion. This album succeeds on its own merits as much as the band obviously do, and the songs are usually why at the end of the day.
“See The Time,” “Puppeteer” and “Obsidian” go rushing by so quickly, I had to listen twice before moving on to the rest of the songs. You get a lot of magic to absorb in the first few tracks alone and that’s never a bad thing. It also helps to get into what’s left of any killer album like this too. I am reminded of what I liked so much about punk rock and new wave bands but this is more organic and the vocals of Fran Miller are what really made it that way and keeps it retained.
The whole album has a lot of music to wrap around your head and the lyrics only distract so much from it, and they also add the right touch where needed as well. “Dancing On The Sill” is a romp you don’t want to miss, and it all just rocks with a fuzzy and very soothing medicinal effect. But my pick for the album’s magnum opus would have to be “Night Watchman,” as I like everything about this amazing number from top to bottom, front to back I can listen to this one over and over and never get bored. This album contains no filler.
With more romps like the frantic “Watermelon Alcatraz” you can choose to get into the lyrics and reflect or you can let it go and enjoy the music, it has something for any rock fan that way and so does this band of wonderful musicians. “Garden” is a lovely majestic little number also worth mentioning for its long measures of beauty. And ‘Kindness” answers only the way it can, with another charming number anyone can dig. These are all brilliant numbers to say the least with “The Necessary Interval” stopping to evaluate the current state of nations, and it truly leaves everything falling “By The Wayside” and contemplating the fact that we are “Trading Futures.”
by Bethany Page