ALBUM REVIEW: Autobahn – Dissemble | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Tough Love

Released: 21.8.15

Find out more on Autobahn’s official website

The name hints at one thing, yet the music delivers something rather different. Glance over the name, and you might be expecting another droning, deafening take on the German masters to file alongside your Hookworms and Warm Digits records. Instead, Autobahn are a snarling, raging rock machine, post-punks that sound liable to fall apart at any moment.

Having already built a fearsome reputation on their live show and two well-received EPs, their debut full-length Dissemble arrives with a certain weight of expectation upon its gnarled shoulders. As such, there’s plenty of the sturm-und-drang tactics those familiar with their sound might expect, but also hints at something deeper and more atmospheric. Thanks to the arpeggiated synths that open up Suicide Saturday and the My Bloody Valentine goes motoric rush of Society, Dissemble displays the first signs of them actually sounding like the band their name would suggest.

Missing in Action makes for a suitably dramatic and violent introduction, a percussive stomp equal parts militaristic and tribal, slowly building and building up into an ebbing wave of noise before collapsing into the convulsing, screaming mess of slashed guitars and pained wails that makes up the rest of the song. It’s a frantic pace that the rest of the album keeps up with, but as it progresses, a subtle, doomed romanticism starts to take hold, especially on the brilliant one-two hit of Impressionist and Beautiful Place to Die.

Instead of the more indie-friendly touchstones of early Cure or C86 that their (rather tune-adverse) contemporaries Eagulls and Joanna Gruesome draw upon, Autobahn instead reach for the more dramatic, proto-Goth likes of Killing Joke and Bauhaus to great success – an impression only aided by vocalist Craig Johnson’s uncanny Pete Murphy-isms. It’s a small difference, but one that makes the difference for Autobahn. There’s an underlying passion and theatricality that runs throughout Dissemble, a rich vein that makes for a record that becomes more compelling with each listen.

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