Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
May 22, 2005
Amazon Disco:
Make a Sound Make a Sound
April 13, 2004
Island
Autopilot Off Autopilot Off
April 23, 2002
Island
Make a Sound Make a Sound
May 11, 2004
Universal Japan
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Autopilot Off
Make a Sound

consider this: since the tragic abeyance of Punk traditionalists--or 'classicists' if you consider them geezers--when Green Day's Dookie was appropriated by people at large, a curious resurgence has accompanied the genre in the last few years, one that has left it maligned and often mistaken for its musical sub-sets. now, i never rocked a Ramones shirt, don't own London Calling, and have a scattershot compilation of Iggy Pop songs in my iTunes library, but even i find this "Punk" revanche transparently incorrect. more curious are the many bands who have milked this new cadre as a point of differentiation, saying, as Chris Johnson of Autopilot Off does, that they'd rather not be given the Punk appellation if it means being lumped with Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, and Yellowcard.

that's fine.

except that all those apparently Punk bands aren't; they're pop-Punk, a far more digestible, far more saccharine species which evolved (or devolved depending on your view) from the original rough stew. this positional separation for groups like Autopilot Off also gives them licenses to appear far more relentless and platonically Punk, even going as far as calling themselves DIY Punk because the influences are too myriad to pigeonhole. got it? this is a band, one of many may i add, whose schtick is the grand refutation of a straw man.

it's effective chicanery: carve yourself a niche from the topsoil of shit Punk and declare yourselves free radicals in a genre overwhelmed by ersatz bands without once claiming its roots. DIY Punk?! so, what, does Skull Control hire Rodney Jerkins for each album? did Black Flag or Husker Du? Make a Sound is generations detached from Punk proper, its music slick, loud, and emasculated. i've listened to it a few times now but can hardly pinpoint any significant demarcations, melodic departures, or emotive divisions from song to song. it's an unthinking sledgehammer that sounds awesome only to those who don't know history and who seek intensity from half-baked, whitewashed, abecedarian proclamations.

Make a Sound is terminally short-sighted and short-winded, disposing with its intentions within the first minute or so of each song and disallowing any chance for maturation or anything subliminal. it's all there in plain sight, manifest in all its truculent splendor. the same themes permeate through and through: hopelessness/retribution ('Make a Sound,' 'I Know You're Waiting,' 'Voice in The Dark,' 'What I Want'), an awkwardly patriotic rumination on 9/11 ('The 12th Day') and the ambiguously karmic nature of life itself (everything else). the only pieces that are sonically arresting (if only for about 15 seconds) are 'Divine Intervention' which features Johnson's guitar and annoyingly inflective vocals ("The ties we BIND/The ones we BREAK/What it tears DOWN and what it MAKES") and 'Blind Truth' which features a spoken lead up to the chorus that sounds like a Billy Idol song without, oh, personality.

saddest still is my original point of a band disavowing the Punk nomenclature because they find it unsatisfactory, as though it's a tiny moon that cannot possibly encapsulate the bewildering galaxy they inhabit. bullshit. Punk is a universe and a universe has no proper center or edge; their galaxy is just one of numerous within Punk, not some great extension of it. let me finally ease them of their concerns by saying that they're full fledged members of the Emo/Punk Clubhouse along with bands like Dead Poetic, Story of The Year, and Hawthorne Heights. these guys aren't alone and they aren't groundbreaking. try JR Ewing, who have effortlessly combined Punk, Metal, and Rock on Ride Paranoia; Hot Snakes, who could be considered intelligent Punk; and especially The Blood Brothers, who have maintained Punk's irreverence and vitriol with equal control. those bands aren't trying to disassociate themselves from the genre, they're embracing it and expanding it. meanwhile Autopilot Off is too busy rocking out in its own little world to notice the amazing universe beyond.

Release date: April 13, 2004
Label: Island
Rating: 2.0 / 10

[RMR]