You Say Potato I Say….
Whatever happened to the days of friends having fun spitting rhymes about life over
tight beats? Automato, a 6-piece group out of NYC, champion that old-school underground sound and feel on their self-titled debut, but aren’t afraid to bring it to a new level.Like the Roots, Automato’s lineup deviates from the hip-hop standard. Featuring guitars, bass, keyboards, a Moog and a live drummer but lacking the traditional DJ, Automato looks more indie rock than hip-hop when they take the stage. However, once the band begins churning out their soulful mix of funk, r&b, and solid bass and drum grooves, heads will begin to bounce.
MC’s Jesse Levine and Ben Fries complete the picture with their skillfully delivered lyrics. Songs come alive with flowing stories about love, city living and a deep appreciation for life and music. On the aptly titled “The Single,” the band sings together “If it ain’t soul music / then it ain’t my music.” In “Gold of Desert Kings,” Levine and Fries’s verbal playfulness is nicely demonstrated: “I take my feet out of my socks, put a pebble inside / so even when I walk I got a rock in my stride.”
Their solid hip-hop sensibility is nicely augmented by more experimental tracks featuring more keyboards and guitars. “My Casio” has a fun vintage 80’s feel. Fluid keyboard and piano work drive beautiful melodies through “Cool Boots” and “How To Read a Person Like a Book.”
Post punk guitar interweaves with some old-school beats on the more adventurous track “Walk Into the Light.”
On stage and on disc, Automato backs up their poetic words and sing-a-long choruses with some surprisingly fresh hip-hop jams.