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Album Review

Head Automatica is the somewhat unlikely pairing of Glassjaw screamer Daryl Palumbo with gonzo beatmaker Dan the Automator. The collaboration rocks a brazenly superficial sound on Decadence, drawing freely from furiously en vogue dance-punk, assemblist modern rock, and bits and pieces of the Def Jux crew's underground aesthetic. The result is not 100 percent consistent, and occasionally skates right past irony and straight into empty-headed pomposity. But in its best moments, Decadence is a dizzy paint shaker, as garish and morally bankrupt as you want your art sleaze to be. (Pink Grease fans, take note.) For Head Automatica, Palumbo's plastic man Mike Patton yowl has been tuned down, doused in cheapie cologne, and sent out on to the mirrored dancefloor in search of coquettish dance-punk groupies. His wingman is Automator, who enjoys punching up Automatica's live instrument complement (including organ, guitar, and drums) with big beat sequences and processed back-alley pigments. "Brooklyn Is Burning" cuts bumpy dollar store disco under a crackling sample suggestive of "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," while "Please Please Please [Young Hollywood]" channels Duran Duran straight west to the steamy pavement of L.A. and fluorescent fabric reflecting in Silverlake swimming pools. For whatever reason, Rancid's Tim Armstrong contributes vocals to the frenetically distorted "Dance Party Plus"; the cut aims for that Hullabaloo in Hell, satyr-sock-hop-feel popularized by Queens of the Stone Age. Elsewhere, Automator's spooky processing guides the deconstructed verses of "King Caesar." But its chorus is too calculated, offering catchy gibberish over a loping drum track and simplistic instrumentation. The song ends up as filler, since unlike Decadence's stronger moments, it never challenges the inherent emptiness of this non-genre. It doesn't revel in the ribald and XXX; it stops unwisely at Shifty territory. "I Shot William H. Macy," too, makes a two-tiered titular reference but forgets to make the song more than an overdriven guitar riff. Decadence works when it forgets about everything but effectively filling up the next five minutes of your house party. The rest of time it's as vacant as last year's cool club.

Customer Reviews


It is actually one of the best albums ive listened to. Even if you dont like them you cant deny that you can have a great boogie to every song esp. beating hearts baby and brooklyn is burning. money well sepnt i say. Break Dance, Not Hearts x


Whoever wrote this iTunes review must have been out of their mind - this album is excellent! I first heard it in 2004 and it's been one of my firm favourites ever since. Looking past "Beating Heart Baby", I'd definitely recommend "Please Please Please", "The Razor" and "At The Speed Of A Yellow Bullet", but the whole album is fantastic. You won't be disappointed.


this album rocks so much, especially if you like glassjaw. great elctropoprock :D


Formed: 2003 in Long Island, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Head Automatica is the somewhat unlikely pairing of vocalist Daryl Palumbo (of New York City's hardcore outfit Glassjaw) and producer Dan the Automator (aka Dan Nakamura of Gorillaz, Handsome Boy Modeling School). Introduced by mutual friends, the duo began work on their debut, aiming for a sound somewhere in between the Automator's beats and squiggles and Palumbo's penchant for rock and punk. When Decadence appeared in late summer 2004, its groove was just that — a bright and trashy mix of...
Full bio
Decadence, Head Automatica
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Customer Ratings