Automotive High School: S/T Album Review

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Artist: Automotive High School
Album: S/T
Record Label: Self Released
Release Date: May 2012
Our Rating:
Track Listing:
01. Now or Never
02. Kids
03. Color My Day
04. Falling for the Strange

I tend to look at album artwork to give myself a sense of what the album will sound like. This is my “judge a book by a cover.” If the artwork is bizarre, my attention will float to the next album in line. This method has failed me many a time, with the weirdest of artwork containing the best albums and the most visually appealing artwork containing absolute gibberish. Yet for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I continue to do this asinine ritual which clearly works against me. Confusion and hesitation were what took over my thoughts when I saw Automotive High School’s album artwork for their May 2012 release, S/T, was just a black square. Not a black square on top of a white background, none of that modern art/geometry nonsense, the artwork was just black. Naturally I thought “this album will have some dark, heavy stuff, I may contemplate doing bad things after listening to this.”

“Won’t you tell me all your bad dreams, tell me all your secrets, ’cause I am falling for the strange” Which makes the smile that spread across my face so unexpected. No, not because I was right in thinking there was some dark shit on this album but because it was brilliance in the form of four songs. Comparable to the lyricism of the Beatles, the musicianship and sound of Oasis, and the zeal and enjoyment I imagine the Avett Brothers to have when they play “At the Beach.” Boy do I hope this band listens to these bands I just compared them to, otherwise that would look bad. Nevertheless, the three bands I just listed are all amazing in their own respects which makes the comparison of the utmost respect. And all three of those bands have the ability to create brilliant songs with attention catching melodies and lyrics. Automotive High School have the same ability. When you catch yourself tapping your foot and bobbing your head and smiling dumbly while listening to S/T, you’ll see for yourself why I made those comparisons.

Can someone buy me a guitar so I can learn to play “Falling for the Strange”? I can sense a really bad cover of this song from me on YouTube coming in the near future…… Anyways! This album ends on a high note as “Falling for the Strange” does not disappoint in a closing song. Slower than the previous song, it continues to stay in the realm of Automotive High School. A realm of story telling lyrics, catchy melodies, quirky elements like whistling or clapping, and strong instrumentation. As the song ends, the instruments fade out, and Rhodin and Yagolnitzer sing together to end the song, singing “the rest will grow old/we’ll stay young forever.” I hope Automotive High School can forever stay in their musical abilities because S/T was and will continue to be a joy to listen to.

Consider your minds blown.

Automotive High School is Torin Rhodin, Greg Yagolnitzer, Brendan Walter, Brooks Jones.

Download the album for FREE at:

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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (She's basically a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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