Following their 2014 single Nostalgia For The Future, London Electro-synth pop band Automatic Writing bring us their debut EP- New Colours. Clocking in just under fifteen minutes, the EP is bookended by the title track and its reprise. Unfortunately, we’re off to a bad start. The central track doesn’t hit its mark. There is nothing that quite catches fire, the vocal unable to shake itself out of monotony with its switches to falsetto during the hook. The main issue however, is a rising note by note synth-drone which finds itself on the wrong side of abrasive, perhaps an experiment that did not quite work out. It’s an unforgettable and at times jarring opening, which does not bode well for the remainder of the EP.
Following track Icons outshines the title track from the off-set. There is almost African-twinge to the opening drum-beat, and with the absence of that aforementioned drone, the main synth part is able to drive the track to the dancefloor in a more comfortable way. The vocal once again however, doesn’t add much, with another one-dimensional melody. There is a mid-point breakdown before a new synth part kicks in and an interesting 8-bit/fairground closure which fades the track out. More enjoyable than its predecessor, but once again there is little to get excited about, as this EP continues along its path of generic synth-pop.
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Future Hymn proves to be the strongest track of New Colours, the combination of organ accompaniment and electric drums go some way to creating the gospel/electro crossover that the title implies they are aiming for. The woodwind soundings that join the instrumentation are also an interesting addition, which at least show Automatic Writing are not afraid of trying something a little different. The vocal also finds itself a bit more on this track, with the brand of falsetto sounding not unlike Matt Bellamy of Muse.
As the reprise fades out, New Colours is an underwhelming listen. The arrangements are not entirely uninteresting, but the same cannot be said of the songwriting and vocals, which fall short more often than not. With Future Hymn, the Merrick brothers who form the band, show some potential, and there are countless debut EP’s that are nothing on an artist’s debut album, so maybe Automatic Writing have a massive surprise in store for us…but New Colours is not a promising start.
The ‘New Colours EP’ is out on the 7th August 2015.