This band should have been
reviewed much earlier, because the only album ‘Night rider’ of THE AUTOMATIX
is a pure classic in the AOR genre. Maybe most of you will already have
this album, but a review of such a classic is always nice to read and especially
with the songs on this album I could easily think of comparisons to other
similar sounding bands/artists. Vocalist/guitarist Bruce Nazarian and drummer
Jerry Q. Jones of the band produced ‘Night rider’.
Opener “When the feeling is
gone” is my favourite cut on the album, what a start! This song is an incredible
laid-back slowtempo AOR song with a superb AOR chorus that features some
amazing and relaxing harmonyvocals. It is very much similar in style to
FRANKE&THE KNOCKOUTS. Keyboardist James A. Noel plays an important
role in the music of THE AUTOMATIX, this already can be heard on the opener
and especially on the songs on side-B.
The next track “Night side”
is a bit rougher and more uptempo AOR with some Pomprock-influences thrown
in for good measure. The song reminds me of LE ROUX crossed with the heavier
stuff of DAKOTA. When mentioning this, you will understand that “Night
side” is also a fantastic song. The following track “Just keep turnin me
on” is a bit softer in style, but is still great AOR like a mixture of
BE TAYLOR GROUP and EVEREST. Then we come to the song “Expose” which is
slightly different than the standard AOR and in this song comparisons can
be made to CINEMA FACE.
The closing track of side-A
is the heaviest track of the whole album. The song is titled “Keep away
from that girl” and has a typical 70’s rock’n’roll feeling like ANGEL without
their pomprock influences. The song is pretty good and besides an ANGEL
comparison, I could also give references to RIGGS/USA (Heavy Power Pop
Rock they would call it when I give comparisons to bands like these).
Moving on to side-B, which
opens with the titletrack “Nightrider”. An excellent uptempo AOR song that
is similar in style to JOURNEY. The following 3 tracks are clearly softer
than the rest of the album. The keyboards (and synthesizers) are moving
up front that can clearly be heard in the song “Hold on tight”. This song
has very catchy keys during the chorus and quite often reminds me of the
JAY GRUSKA album ‘Which one of us is me’ (a very underrated AOR album).
But when I mention such a
comparison, I could also mention TOTO, because musically THE AUTOMATIX
is close to that famous band on the song “Hold on tight”. The same goes
for the following track “What a man should know”, a great song, and when
hearing this song I must think of the only classic AOR/Westcoast release
of DAVID ROBERTS (‘All dressed up’) that is quite similar in style.
The next track “Take it to
the top” take things the other way and moves more into LOVERBOY, STREETHEART
territory, straightforward heavy poprock, nothing special, still nice to
hear. The final track of the LP is the fantastic uptempo AOR song “Two
can play” that is a bit sounding like BERNIE LABARGE. If you don’t know
THE AUTOMATIX, I can only say that you miss a piece of the AOR history
and that’s a shame.
This album is a classic in
the AOR genre and could’ve been high in the US charts at the time it was
released. The were similar in style to Journey, Franke&The Knockouts…
and bands like these scored massive hits, so why didn’t The Automatix make
it to the top. They even had their only release on one of the most popular
recordlabels (MCA Records). Nobody will know the answer and we can now
only hope that some record label will put this LP re-issued on CD.