Automagik – “Fluorescent Nights” – Soul Step Records REVIEW

I like to talk about music a lot. But sometimes that can be exhausting. Now, before you bail on this article and go look at something else, hear me out. In order to share the kind of thing a lot of people will dig means rummaging through a lot. The 50Thirdand3rd mission statement is to share our love of music with those who love music. So for me, part of that is finding stuff I enjoy, putting my feelings into words, then sharing. But with the world becoming a cesspool of hatred, civil unrest, and division, the music we turn to for a release ends up being as volatile as what we’re trying to escape. Don’t get me wrong, I love to clench my fists and thrive on the desire to smash something, but where’s the fun?

Automagik. That’s where the fun is. They have all of it. Every bit of fun missing from music is in every note from Automagik. It’s really that simple. 

Formed in 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio, Automagik has been through a few shifts in tone. Early on they adapted garage rock angst, then the hook-driven vibes of Weezer, to the all-out tribute to funk and pop on Goldmine, the last time I wrote about them. But no matter where they go, they have always brought it with an indescribable energy.

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With their latest album Fluorescent Nights, Automagik showcase a little more subtly within their craft. There’s all the larger than life synths featured in Goldmine but the tongue-in-cheek humor has been replaced with a stronger emphasis on songwriting, and hooks in particular. The lead single “Dream Ride” embodies the blue-eyed soul of Hall & Oates with the sugary self-awareness of Iain Matthews. The follow-up single “Buick” takes the listener on a groovier ride reminiscent of With Sympathy-era Ministry with the pop sensibility of DeBarge.

Even with all the call-backs to the 1980s, Fluorescent Nights isn’t exactly a nostalgia trip.

The synths are glossy, the bass tight, and the beats enough to make you moonwalk, but that’s not grounded in the past. It’s because that particular era of music made fun the primary focus. When the radio was jam backed with Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna, the youth escaped the existential dread of their Baby Boomer parents. Skating rinks, malls, walkmans, and MTV were a sanctuary for anyone weary from the news, oppression, and the constant force-fed negativity. Doesn’t that sound familiar?

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From health pandemics, depression, to cross-eyed politics, there’s plenty to be upset about when we look out our windows. If you’re anything like me and need a break from existence, Fluorescent Nights is the album you need. Pressed on vinyl by Soul Step Records, Automagik has crafted an album made up of everything I love about escapism. Take a break, throw on some comfortable clothes, drop the needle on this record, and dance. You probably don’t even know how much good it will do you. Trust me on this one.

Fluorescent Nights is now available on limited edition vinyl at Soul Step Records.


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Aaron The Audiophile

Son, brother, uncle, musician. I enjoy music of all genres, shapes and sizes, preferably the good kind.

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