Review: Iration – Automatic

Review: Iration – Automatic

Iration – Automatic
Track Listing:
1.) Automatic
2.) Show Me (featuring Lincoln Parish)
3.) One Way Track
4.) Back Around
5.) Go That Road
6.) Burn
7.) This Old Song
8.) Home (featuring Lincoln Parish)
9.) Mr. Operator
10.) Runaway
11.) Uptown
12.) Splintered Heart
13.) High Flying
14.) Milk and Honey (featuring Lincoln Parish)
15.) Undertow
16.) No Time

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: July 2nd, 2013
Record Label: 3 Prong Records
Website: Iration’s Website

Group Background:
Iration is the Hawaii-born, and California-formed reggae-pop-rock quintet. Since forming in 2004, Iration has established themselves has heavyweights in the reggae-rock scene. The band has released three EP’s and three full-length albums, including 2013’s Automatic. Iration saw significant success with 2010’s Timebomb, which has sold over 36,000 copies, reached #1 on iTunes reggae chart and #40 overall on the iTunes music chart. The album also peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Reggae album chart and #30 on Billboard Heatseekers album chart. Automatic is Iration’s first release on the band’s newly formed label, 3 Prong Records.

Album Review:
Automatic is diverse, refreshing and full of welcomed surprises. The boundary pushing album is a wide mix of genres, including rock, country, reggae, R&B, dub, island and 1980’s sounding pop.The album features sixteen tracks, which feels really long–especially in these days of four-track EPs and iTunes singles. Similar to 2010’s Timebomb, the album features continued collaboration with alt-rocker Lincoln Parish of Cage The Elephant. Along with members of Iration and JP Hesser of Castaway 7 Studios, Parish acted as a the album’s co-producer.

Automatic starts off with the album’s title track, which is a tribute to the band’s dedicated fan base. The reggae-rock-dub tune is signature Iration and features a catchy chorus, along with an arrangement full of smooth baselines, keys and vocal affects. For longtime fans and reggae lovers, Automatic offers “One Way Track,” “Go That Road,” “Uptown” and “Mr. Operator.” The latter is a roots reggae and R&B tune with an infectious chorus and hypnotizing layers of keys. “Go That Road” is a fun, country-reggae tune with a upbeat, catchy chorus, aptly-timed harmonies and relatable story.

Some of the album’s strongest songs feature collaborator and co-producer Lincoln Parish. “Show Me” is a synthesized, 1980’s-sounding dance tune with tempo changes and layered, echo-filled vocals. “Home” starts off with a country picking pattern and dust-bowl feel. The track then transitions into a bass heavy reggae-rock tune, before finishing with a alt-rock interlude/outro. The track is overflowing with sounds, which regrettably swallow-up the vocals during the song’s chorus.

Finally, “Milk and Honey” is a reggae-funk-dance tune with shades of funk-soul phenom Robert Randolph. These songs might surprise some listeners and catch others completely off guard; however, these radio friendly tunes are a refreshing change from the often recycled sounds of the genre. The songs are welcomed additions to the album, and should help Iration expand to audiences outside the reggae-rock genre.

Automatic is hard to categorize. It’s not really a reggae album or a rock album. And, it’s not a pop album or R&B either. It’s all the above. Automatic is an album for all listening moods. If you want some reggae, you got it; if you want to dance, you got it. If you want upbeat pop, you got that as well. The beauty of Iration’s “all of the above” approach is that it is unique and refreshing, as well as unpredictable–which makes Automatic accessible to new fans while keeping the old ones satisfied.

Written & Reviewed By: Kit Chalberg

[Editor’s Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]