- 08 May 01
Yet, it is probably the best thing they've ever done. I'd half hoped that it wouldn't be.
Yet, it is probably the best thing they've ever done. I'd half hoped that it wouldn't be. Awkward production deadlines have left me ruminating over 'Automatic For The People' for a couple of weeks longer than most reviewers and, all this time, I've had a sneaking wish that repeated listens would reveal some central flaw at its core.
No matter what we say, most critics suffer from Tall Poppy Syndrome – we feel compelled to scythe the successful down to the size. In this case, however, my desire to wield a sharp blade was thoroughly frustrated. The more familiar I became with the album, the more fervently I loved it. After a while, I even started to feel guilty about liking 'Out Of Time' so much. This is an infinitely more dazzling and profound achievement than anything on last yea's release. It is, quite simply, a stone cold classic.
What we have here is a band at the zenith of its powers. 'Automatic For The People' is not the product of years of tinkering and fine tuning. It didn't require the services of a conveyor belt of producers nor did it cost the GNP of a small African nation to make. The whole thing was actually recorded, from soup to nuts, in only a little over three months.