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September 22, 2011

VNV Nation – “Automatic” – Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “On Air” * “Space & Time” * “Resolution” * “Control” * “Goodbye 20th Century” * “Streamline” * “Gratitude” * “Nova” * “Photon” * “Radio

Other VNV Nation news by Viva Music: VNV Nation – “Automatic” – New Album Out in September + Preview + Tour Dates | VNV Nation at Nocturnal Culture Night 2011 | VNV Nation at Nocturnal Culture Night 2011 (photo gallery) | VNV Nation at Nordstern Festival 2011 | VNV Nation at Nordstern Festival 2011 (photo gallery) | VNV Nation at Amphi Festival 2010 | VNV Nation at Amphi Festival 2010 (photo gallery) | VNV Nation at Wave Gotik Treffen 2009 (photo gallery)

VNV Nation – “Automatic”: Viva Music Album Review:

 After a very packed full summer, filled with concert and festival dates, VNV Nation regale us with a very beautiful album, really in time for those who set in their autumn melancholy. “Automatic”, tracks from which were previously first-time listens during summer festival dates, and snippets of which were made available earlier this month, is finally out with Anachron Sounds and Sep-16 and Sep-19 as US and continental release dates. With an inspiring sub-title “Marking 100 years of progress”, the album, redolent of very much of what you are accustomed to listen to when the name of VNV Nation pops in your mind, it also is an exclusive encounter with the newer edge of the band, and their definite shift to more optimistic, and beat-driven music. Definitely not a commercial album, but a compositionally healthy one, the album is in many respects similar to their previous 2009 “Of Faith, Power and Glory”, thus bridging their fans’ experience to a new lot of songs, but also enriching their experience with a great deal of good songs.

On Air”, the debut track of the album is a wireless blaring sound that transforms into a real transmission; its sound reminds to a large extent of the notions of progress and of evolution, together with a more suave melodic line and with a very plausible explosion of sound, with a melancholic juxtaposition of electronic and classical music, just in time for the next track, “Space & Time” to take over. Not devoid of meaning, but without lyrical content, “On Air” serves as an introduction that gets you in the mood and tells a very fascinating story in itself. “Space & Time” is not a first listen for many of us, since this summer meant the mass release of a live version of the track, but this does not mean that the track ceases in any way to sound new, beautiful, engaging and totally optimistic. With its chorus, it seems to be winning without even fighting any fight, it is simply an emotion put into music with splendor and conscientiousness. And if you think it is up to “Space& Time” to create a memorable moment in the album, you’re only partially right: it is indeed a beautiful track, but it does not shade either the lyrical content or the music line of the remaining tracks from the album.

With such a good exposition, the album continues its astral voyage with “Resolution”; the track seems ethereal and with both feet on the ground at the same time;  with such a fulfilling feeling to it and so commanding in its way, really making it worthwhile! “Control”, the track offered as an album appetizer for free, with the condition: “You can download a free copy as long as you promise us you’ll play it loud” and which we listened to beforehand (loudly, indeed!) and loved it! With an impetuous beginning and a terribly good beat, “Control”, with its manifest quality and its feel good perspective, makes for a great single release – and we hope to see it in the future in various formats and remixes, because it looks like it is cut for it! “Goodbye 20th Century”, the track that brings into perspective the album subtitle (i.e. “Marking 100 years of progress”) is redolent of the first half of the album in melodic line and harmony, but it also stands apart and marks the passage toward the second half of “Automatic” because it derives its sound equally from the scientific lore and from the romantic streak of the album. Like a majestic collage, “Goodbye to the 20th Century” is a track that convinces from the very first seconds, and enchants for its all duration; it is classical in construction and you could see images of the world’s progress into an awe-inspiring, but at the same time becalming 21st century from the relics of a difficult, but creative century. “Streamline”, with its ludic loops and grand course, like a giant crossing of humanity from one century to the next one. And then “Gratitude”, which really sounds grateful, picks up from where “Streamline” left off, with a divine musical context and a pertinent storyline. “Gratitude” is, just like the preceding tracks from the album, VNV Nation at its best, and alongside its thanksgiving, “Gratitude” also works some wonder of its own, it is healing the way it sounds, and so reassuring! A Viva Music favorite, alongside “On Air” and “Space & Time”, “Gratitude”, just like “Control”, deserves its own single release!

Nova” as well as “Photon” are a reviewer’s delight; and before that even, a listener’s delight. Not before listening to them we realized that VNV Nation sound more mature and if definitely not resigned, then more understanding about human nature. It is not the case with “Radio”, the ending track from the album, which sounds really appealing and just like its counter-part, the initial “On Air” sets the transmission between recognizable bounds, of an illustrious album, the thick weft of work of which is visible throughout the voyage the listener undertakes at ease with “Automatic”.

VNV Nation – Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs


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