The Auto Dropouts
Still Waiting For Yom Kippur LP
I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, like a fussy critical hen, waiting for it to mature on (or under) me. Over several listens a good six out of ten have ripened into a high eight. Jesper Eriksson is one of those deeply likeable Scandinavian songwriters, often lovelorn, but sure of himself and unfailingly eloquent.
The result is a series of melodic dangling conversations, viz:
HIM: “I’ve lost control, way out of hand
Yesterday I stole the roses in her garden
I’m gonna give them to her.”
ME: “I like the cut of your jib.“
That’s from ‘Drop the Bombs’, an early personal favourite, but you can find the same kind of charm almost anywhere you look.
Many of the songs (‘Bombs’ included) are constructed along similar lines – a succession of shiny hooks, off-centre lyrics and guitar crunch – but are never samey. The Wannadies are a lazy comparison, but there is a resemblance. You could call ‘Yom Kippur’ a power pop album if you had a pigeonhole that needed filling, but there’s vaulting musical ambition to reckon with here.
‘Random’, the fourth track after a trio of brisk janglers, is as lush as a really good George Harrison solo outing (imagine Jeff Lynne’s production just the right side of excessive), and Neil Finn – Leonard Cohen, even, at a pinch – would kill for the lyric, a gorgeous mixture of the cosmic and domestic. Bacharach-ish trumpet adorns another slowie, ‘It’s Over’. Eriksson can do this sort of thing just as well as the poppier stuff.
Cracking tunes, skilful word pictures and musical adeptness then, and while the Auto Dropouts are more a vehicle for Eriksson’s songwriting than a band proper, ‘Yom Kippur’ hangs together like a band record.
The last track ‘Throw ’em to the Lions’ breaks the spell a bit with its shouty rantings, but hey, they’ve just finished a whole album, they’re entitled to blow off steam, snog a dog, hunt the Snark, whatever clears the cobwebs after all that studio time. Blur used to stick funfair instrumentals on the end of their albums and it didn’t do them any harm. (And actually, ‘Throw ’em to the Lions’ reveals itself as a fine, if slight, piece of music.)
The Auto Dropouts have much in common with Blur, but don’t go listening too hard for musical likeness. What they share is a restless creativity, a genius with both the pop song and lyrics, and a palpable intelligence. Eriksson seems a warmer character than Damon Albarn, but this is one nice guy who can definitely finish first.
Written by McLaughlin on