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Popaganda

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Album Review

If the stylish realms of Decadence were perfect for late nights full of dancing and questionable other activities, Popaganda is Head Automatica's appropriately titled answer to those subsequent afternoons spent hanging out in the warm sun. Head Automatica still has that post-punk dance attitude consuming each track, but it's filtered this time through late-'70s pop influences like Squeeze and Elvis Costello & the Attractions instead of Dan the Automator's back-alley beats and electro-rock fuzz. While only two songs ("Nowhere Fast," "Egyptian Musk") fall closer to Decadence's sound, this isn't to Popaganda's detriment. Even with the occasional sticky moment, the band's transition never seems forced or contrived. The overall result is just a lighter, brighter, crunchier album of tight riffing, playful keys, punchy rhythms, and of course, Daryl Palumbo's distinctive elastic voice. "Scandalous" has a legitimate '50s vibe going on; "Cannibal Girl" owns seriously bouncy riffs; "Graduation Day" opens with crisp piano and guitar that build into an instantly catchy pop song sure to get overplayed on many an end-of-school mix (good timing with the album coming out in June, eh?). Catching a cheating significant other never sounded as fun as it does on "Lying Through Your Teeth" (with its subtly glam rock-esque chorus), and it's Palumbo's ongoing battle with Crohn's disease presumably addressed in songs like the pop-drenched "God." Toward the middle of the album, some songs don't initially hit that hard, but the rest of the record keeps things moving along for later listens. It's true that the neon strobe lights of Head Automatica's previous electronic-rock-punk concoction are all but completely replaced on Popaganda by the pure sun of sparkling guitar-driven pop songs. And moreover, it's probably safe to assume that some form of viable reinvention will continue to happen on subsequent albums. Trashy nightclubs are fun for a time, but really, who wants to be trapped in one for all eternity?

Customer Reviews

I'll stick to Decadence

Sophomore slump is a phrase I'd definitely use to describe this album. Daryl Palumbo has specifically said that he wanted to make pop music-- which Decadence, in my opinion, was. Popaganda? Not so much. Popaganda is definitely some weird medium between Glassjaw and Head Autmatica. More Glassjaw than Head Auto, actually. There are a lot less catchy guitar riffs and clever lyrics, and more slower, almost 50's reminiscent prominent keyboards, with just a touch of politics in there. Key tracks are mostly found on the Pop Rocks EP. Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 12 are probably the best. 11 deserves an honorable mention in a bad way; just by how weird and distant it is from the rest of the album. Tracks 2, 3, 7, and 9 are standout key tracks. Graduation Day, although the first single, is unmemorable and gets mixed in with everything else after a few plays. Hopefully the third album would be better. I really miss the dancable pop music of Decadence, which I highly recommend instead of this.

Popaganda

I was really excited for this cd, and I have to say I do like it. Decadence is still one of my favorite CD's, but the change for this one is refreshing and new and I like the sound. Don't complain about it being "poppy", it is called "POPaganda" for a reason. I love their lyrics and how every song is different.

im confused with the other opinions

such as "i will stick to decadence" and "good band gone pop instead of rock"...truth is it dont matter whether the genre has changed or not, its only their second album so just cuz its different doesn't mean every album is now going to be pop rock, maybe Head Automatica is just one of those cool bands that has a different theme to every album, ever thought of that? and besides, so what if it sounds a bit like pop?! point is this album sounds good no matter what genre you think it falls under, I even think its better than decadence, at least half of this album is must have songs.

Biography

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
Popaganda, Head Automatica
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