European electro-rock band VNV Nation has quite an extensive repertoire of work under its belt. With over a dozen albums released since forming in the early ‘90s, VNV Nation has come back strong with another studio album entitled “Automatic.”
VNV Nation, comprised of Ronan Harris (vocals, lyrics, and electronics) and Mark Jackson (drums), has a unique sound which attracts a variety of listeners. The band’s bio states their sound ranges from “electronic dance music to ballads and classical inspired music.” This is an apt description considering that VNV’s music would fit right in anywhere from the gothiest of goth clubs to the classiest of weddings.
“Automatic” sees the band take a different direction with a themed record. Described as being inspired by late ‘30s America embracing the technology of today, this theme is quite clear with contrastingly titled tracks such as “Goodbye 20th Century” and “Photon” – not to mention an art-deco inspired tour poster that looks like it came straight out of an Ayn Rand steampunk-inspired alternate universe.
Overall, “Automatic” has a very uplifting sound. Tracks like “Space and Time” and “Resolution” deliver inspiring messages of hope, which fits with the band’s motto that “one should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret.”
In between tracks spotlighting Ronan’s distinctly soft, deeply haunting vocals are beautiful instrumental songs. The album’s opening track “On Air” as well as other soothing interludes like “Photon” provide fitting introductions and breaks, respectively, to the album’s concept of old/new times and civilizations meshing harmoniously.
The standout song of “Automatic” has to be “Control.” Placed conveniently in the middle of the CD, it is definitely bound to be “Automatic’s” club anthem. With its super-chant of “I want control” and the grittiest synths on the album, it is sure to pack dance floors and be the tune that fans can’t get out of their heads.
Calling “Automatic” his “opus of retro-futurism,” Harris has clearly taken VNV Nation in a direction fans would not expect. While managing to maintain that signature VNV Nation sound that fans can pinpoint in a heartbeat, Harris and Jackson have also given listeners an album with a lot more substance to ruminate on.
With “Automatic” releasing on September 16th in Europe and October 25th in the States, VNV Nation is embarking on an extensive tour that begins in Europe and ends in America. Right now trekking around Europe, VNV will have their first American date on November 16th in Los Angeles and continue touring through mid-December. Tickets are currently available through VNV Nation’s website.