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CD REVIEW: Autocondo - Autocondo
By Chip Withrow - 05/02/2009 - 01:21 PM EDT

Artist: Band: Autocondo
Album: Autocondo
Genre: Folk/Rock/Pop
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Saw the Light, Wits End, Lemego, Universe
CD Review: I discover new layers of the adventurous yet poppy folk-rock of the Canadian band Autocondo with each listen to this self-titled album. As I begin this review, I’m drawn to the ethereal guitar that floats over the soul-gospel keyboards of “Saw the Light.” Now, just a few minutes later, it’s the endearingly fun harmonies of the punchy “Wits End.”

This self-titled disc begins with the edgy, driving “Paralyzed,” then comes the wistful-yet-sorta-spooky “Saw the Light” (which also closes the disc in stripped-down acoustic version). Next is “Wits End,” which has party anthem potential and a nifty guitar solo. “Send Her Back” is a slow-burning gem with gorgeous soaring vocals. “When the Dust Falls” has a nice Tom Petty-ish trippy folk feel.

Within the span of a few songs, Autocondo can deftly shift gears, yet each song is a hook-filled treat, mostly crafted by guitarist/vocalists Neil Chapman, Tony Duggan-Smith and Russell Walker.

“Dust” is followed by the groovy blues shuffle “Crimes,” which boasts a powerful guitar solo and a slippery electric piano/organ turn. The spacey ballad “Lemego” rivals “Paralyzed” in weirdness, but it’s aurally beautiful weirdness – vocally stunning, and the guitar work sparkles. “Evolution” rocks in a big way that reminds me of U2’s later work.

And here’s something else I discovered as I put the finishing touches on this review – I love the spiraling guitar on the Lennon-McCartney cover “Cry Baby Cry.” (In fact, with this most recent listen, I found myself paying close attention to the marvelous mesh of guitars throughout the set – I dig the David Gilmour-esque finish to “Universe.”) Autocondo is full of lush musical and lyrical imagery, and repeated listens offer new rewards.

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