Agony Shorthand

Thursday, March 06, 2003
INSTANT AUTOMATONS REVIVAL NOW UNDERWAY....One of the more obscure but justly celebrated bands of the early 80s UK D.I.Y. movement were the INSTANT AUTOMATONS, purveyors of distinctly low fidelity, private-press anti-establishment art-synth racket. Twenty years on, the word is out. Not only do the Instant Automatons have their own website now, but there's a new "near-compleat" compilation CD available through that same website. I just ordered one via Paypal, and true to the band's original easy/cheap ethos, they're charging a mere FIVE DOLLARS for it. Thanks! Here's a review of the new release from WFMU's web site:

"The Instant Automatons were a mere blip on the radar screen of the UK Post-punk scene that flashed and faded before the word even got out. Revolving around Mark Lancaster circa 1979-80, the Automatons revelled in being part of what was then called the "Bad Music" scene (and today would be called "lo-fi") that splattered itself all over releases on 7" and cassette from such genius labels as Fuck Off Records. Cheap synths and drum machines abound on this music, along with clattery guitar, and barked vocal that sound a bit suspiciously like Mark E. Smith (this disc's liner notes are penned by Grant Showbiz who did Fall sleeves as well, hmmm....) railing against materialism, bad new romantic music and other concerns of the angry British youth of the day. While generally high-spirited, there are bits of Joy Division gloom (the notes point out that one song is called Catacomb to mimic JD's one-word song titles), but overall, the inventive minimalism here is truly charming, and even stretches itself to utilize a full Welsh choir on one track. If Tony Wilson's Factory empire was worthy of a flick, there's bound to be quite a few tales to tell in regard to the Automatons and their involvement with the Fuck Off label scene and Street Level studio."