AUTOMATICS: On Tour Green Bay 1997: CD

May 24, 2022

Rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, Portland’s Automatics will forever be bonded in unity to Mutant Pop Records in the minds of the ’90s pop punk consumer—bound to eternal servitude as the label’s standard bearers, the faces of the franchise, and MP’s general mascots. This, to my mind, is as it should be: The Automatics were the unquestioned masters of the Mutant Pop Sound, if not the entity most singularly responsible for crystallizing that sound into a recognizable thang, as it were. For those unfamiliar with the cultural touchstones I’m strewing about, imagine Mr. T Experience songs shorn of Frank’s trenchant wit and sped up to the thrash-pop tempo of the first Offbeats EP, augmented with a rough attempt to fill out the arrangements with Beatnik Termites-styled harmonies. If these additional cultural touchstones are still dialing wrong numbers with you, we are probably beyond effective interpersonal communication at this point. This doozy of a set—twenty-one songs in thirty-five minutes!—showcases the twerpy trio at their finest, whizzing through sixty-second chunklets of mutant Pop Rocks® like some manner of punk rock speed dating. I was at this show and don’t remember them being this on with the harmonies, that’s pretty impressive (I do remember the remark about the Fosbury Flop, however). If you need to be reminded—again—about how much faster and funner we all were in the ’90s, look no further. If not, look elsewhere. BEST SONG: “Makin’ Out.” BEST SONG TITLE: “D.E.G.E.R.A.T.E.” because some nitwit clearly misspelled “D.E.G.E.N.E.R.A.T.E.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Reggie from the Beatnik Termites was actually in a late-stage version of the Offbeats. Also, this was recorded on Mother’s Day and I was there. –Rev. Nørb (Tiranasaurus Recs. c/o Mutant Pop)