This LP is the conclusive proof that Glassjaw aren't the big angry emo-ers we had them down as. Following guitarist Todd Weinstock's recent disco-funk album with Men, Women and Children, singer Daryl Palumbo is back with Head Automatica's sophomore effort, a sparkling pop gem which owes much more to Elvis Costello than it does to being dumped by your girlfriend and sulking about it.
Where Men, Women and Children embrace the omnipresent dance-rock template, Automatica have moved away from it, swimming hard against the fashion current, and have crafted an infinitely superior album. Only the funky "Nowhere Fast" and the trance inflected "Egyptian Musk" hark back to their dance orientated debut Decadence, and they are incidentally, two of the weaker tracks on this collection.
It is clear that the template of Popaganda is 1970s British punk-pop, like the aforementioned Mr Costello, and can be heard through every shimmering organ line and infectious melody. Opener, and lead-off single "Graduation Day" is a prime example of this new found melodic Anglophilia, with its big major chords and joyous vocals, it is unashamedly fun, much like the rest of the record.
Obviously, this kind of record is nothing new, bands like Weezer, Ash and
The Posies have distilled the power-pop form into its purest form and have already made some of the best records in the genre between them, but, Head Automatica have come close to matching them with this offering.
That said, there are a few moments which prevent the record from being a power-pop classic, like the previously mentioned dancey tracks, and also, the overwrought Bon Jovi-isms of "Scandalous" could have been left off to the detriment of no-one.
These blips aside, there are enough quality pop moments here to satisfy even the most militant of Green Day fans, particularly the punchy "God" and the enormous "Lying Through Your Teeth", and not a floppy fringe or dodgy sixth form poem in sight. Quality.