With the release of 2015’s debut effort Dissemble, the Leeds, UK-based indie rock/post-punk quintet AUTOBAHN, comprised of Craig Johnson (vocals) Michel Pedel (guitar) and Gavin Cobb (guitar), Daniel Sleight (bass) and Liam Hilton (drums) received attention both nationally and across the blogosphere for a sound that was influenced by Joy Division and their legendary post-punk producer Martin Hamett. In fact, the band reportedly wrote and recorded the album imagining what Hannett would have done, if he were to produce them. However, as the story goes, before they set up to write and record the material that would comprise The Moral Crossing, the band’s forthcoming sophomore effort, the members of the band had decided to give up their practice room. which also doubled as a hardcore punk venue, an build their own space. They found a former double-glazing firm under a disused bridge in Holbeck, Leeds’ red light district and despite having no real experience building a studio from scratch, they undertook the job and when they finished their studio, the band’s Craig Johnson taught himself how to produce and record an album with the burning desire to create their own sound with their own artistic vision. “I was down there nearly every night,” Johnson recalls. “It was pretty horrible at times, but worth the pain to have control over everything. We’ve had the chance to create the sound we want, at times it’s more melancholic, and romantic.”
In order to go about changing their sound, a change in songwriting approach was necessary — and for their sophomore effort, the band went about a deliberate and painstaking process in which they built songs piece-by-piece as they went along rather than working on completed songs, as they previously did. Lyrics came about at the end, and thematically the material finds the band focusing on birth — but in a way that emphasizes that the person “had no choice in the decision. And then it’s about the different outcomes that could happen, Which could be glorious or torturous,” Johnson explains in press notes.
From album title track “The Moral Crossing,” the Leeds-based quintet’s sophomore effort will be a bold and forceful new direction for the band — while retaining the angular attack of their previously released singles and of Martin Hammett-era Joy Division, the single finds the band crafting some of their most ambitious material to date, as it possesses the swooning and antehmic hooks reminiscent of Snow Patrol paired with prog rock and arena rock-like sensibility.