Country : Canada Label : Stomp Records Genres and styles : power-pop / Synth-Pop Year : 2023

Autogramm – Music That Humans Can Play

· by Ann Pill

Autogramm’s new album Music That Humans Can Play is what happens when four talented and well-established musicians just decide to have fun. Gone are the days for Jiffy Marx, CC Voltage, The Silo, and Lars Von Seattle of being too punk for positivity. Their high-octane power pop energy boost is sure to make even the most hardened pessimists among us want to dance. 

The album starts with “Born Losers” which answers the age-old question, “What would it sound like if Bruce Springsteen went through a synth phase?”  “WannaBe” however shares little in common with the Brit-pop song of the same name. It is instead an epic tune with themes of self-empowerment. 

“Hey Allie” is the gorgeous epitome of the “new” newwave. It makes sense that CC Voltage wrote this song for his newborn daughter. This whole album sounds like a letter to the next generation—saying that it’s going to be okay. 

What the lyrics lack in subtlety they make up for in relatability. It sometimes starts to feel like a self-empowerment seminar but these days we really do need someone to tell us, “It’s not the end of the world.”  

Yes, it’s cheesy but is that really such a crime? Autogramm has the motivational speaking qualities of Andrew W.K. with the musical qualities of The Cars. 

The album comes in so hot that they almost box themselves in. When you start at 100 it’s a bit hard to carry on from there. They do try to slow things down with “Westbound” and “Always Going to Be My Girl” which feel a little out of place in the context of the rest of the album. They are incredibly self-aware, which is most evident in the appropriately named synth-pop/punk track “Plastic Punx.” “Punks not dead but every show we play takes another year off our lives.” 

Hopefully they’re wrong about that one because if they can play this live with even a fraction of the energy on this recording it would be incredible. This album is full of nostalgia without being afraid of progress. It does at times start to sound like “Baby’s First New Wave Album” but if there’s any hope for the next generation, we have to start them young. Maybe it’s not serious or remarkably nuanced. But maybe it doesn’t have to be. It will almost certainly put a smile on your face and really what more can we ask.

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