Back from a three year break, ‘The Enemy’ return with their fourth studio album, ‘It’s Automatic’, an eleven track affair with influences from the late 90’s and early 2000’s indie and Britpop scenes. Despite lasting longer than other bands that emerged in 2007 when they released their debut album ‘We’ll Live And Die In These Streets’, the bands age range ends in the late 20’s, unfortunately this youthfulness does not bring anything new or fresh from the band.
The opening track, ‘Don’t Let Nothing Get in the Way’ begins with a pulsing electro-bassline which quickly develops into echoing guitar, in the vein of the Stone Roses, with none of the subtlety. The song culminates with chanting of the title, and although the song isn’t a bad song, it feels forced, as if it were a pastiche of eighties power pop ballads. The title track that follows offers the same stylistically, quickly becoming unexciting as it seemingly repeats itself over again with no inspiration or imagination.
The opening of the fourth track, ‘Everybody Needs Someone’, sounds fantastic, the bright and triumphant melody accompanied with the lo-fi, post-punk reminiscent, drum sound creates a swelling, yet modest atmosphere, and the vocal style and sound fits perfectly with the instrumentation, resulting in a low key, second wave ballad.
‘Melody’, the sixth track begins with a building chorus of reverb laden synths and high key vocal samples, but as the singing begins and the drone carries on with little deviation from the introduction the song fades out, failing to build itself up to anything resembling interesting.
‘Some Things’, also continues this format of having a quality introduction before following up with an underwhelming track. The walking bass line sounds like Kasabian circa. their ‘West Pauper‘ album, the opening drum fill is obnoxious and loud, the most enthusiastic beats hit on the whole LP, however as the synth builds in the background and the lyrics begin the song takes a downturn, bringing what should have been the coolest song on the album into the same template as all the others.
The problem with the album, lies not in the instrumentation, as the sound has so much potential, but the vocals and production do not excite me or capture my attention throughout. Although the synths do sound really good, the album doesn’t take full advantage of the possibilities and firmly commits them to a mere background drone, rendering them boring and uninventive.
Another reason the album doesn’t appeal to me is that the album sounds as if it has been inspired by many different artists, but there’s nothing unique or original to the band, this makes the whole album sound as if The Enemy can only emulate other styles and artists, rather than create their own persona and sound.