I am pretty embarrassed that I don’t know VNV Nation’s catalog as well as I should, especially after hearing their latest, Automatic. I know the band. I know I have some of their older records. I just couldn’t name you a single before now and I am sorry for that. Thankfully, albums like Automatic come along and give me a renewed interest in VNV Nation. If I couldn’t name you a single before now, then Automatic does a good job of making sure I never forget one from here on out.

This is the kind of album that is bittersweet to me because I wish like hell that Man Ray in Cambridge was still alive and kicking so that I could go and dance my ass off with no regard with Automatic as my soundtrack because Automatic is the kind of album that compels you to move.

The only problem I have with Automatic is that it’s so good. I mean, how can one album be so epically phenomenal in this age of crap? I was so enthralled with the first half of it that I had to force myself to listen to the second half. That’s not saying the second half is bad. That’s far from the case. You’ll just find yourself sucked into single “Control” and “Resolution” that you won’t care that there are six more tracks to go.

Automatic transports you to a place above the clouds where everything is awesome. The album begins with  instrumental “On-Air” which segues into “Space & Time” and guarantees that if you weren’t a VNV Nation fan before, you’ll certainly be one now. “Resolution” and single “Control” hit the sweet spot of dance and electronica as Ronan Harris incites the dancefloor to rise up.

Breaking the album in half is another instrumental, “Goodbye 20th Century”, which serves as a nice little break between the first single and “Streamline” which takes everything to the next level. If that’s even possible. VNV Nation never really “went” anywhere but if there was a comeback album of 2011, Automatic would be it.

Automatic is available now and I have to revise my Top 11 of ’11 list. Catch them at the Paradise this Sunday, December 4th.

Grade: A

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