If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’ve come across a couple of posts featuring Leeds, UK-based indie rock/post-punk quintet AUTOBAHN. And you may recall that with the release of 2015’s debut effort Dissemble, the British quintet 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 internationally for a sound that was influenced by Joy Division and their legendary producer Martin Hamett; in fact, the band has openly admitted that they wrote and recorded the album imagining what Hannett would have done with them in the studio. However, as the story goes, sometime before they were about to write and record the material, which would comprise their forthcoming sophomore full-length effort The Moral Crossing, the members of the band decided to give up their long-held practice room, which had doubled as a hardcore punk venue, and 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 after finishing the studio, the band’s Craig Johnson then taught himself how to produce and record an album — with the boring desire to create their own sound and be in control of 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.” Of course, as they went about changing their overall sound, the band went through a change in songwriting approach, in which they went through a deliberate and painstaking process, where they constructed songs piece-by-piece as they went along rather than working to revise already created 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.
Last month, I wrote about album title track “The Moral Crossing,” a single, which revealed that the band went though a bold and forceful new direction — and 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. “Future,” The Moral Crossing‘s latest single features familiar, post-punk angular guitars, four-on-the percussion, soaring synths and a rousing hook before dissolving into noisy chaos but where there are similarities between this single and its predecessor, the biggest difference to my ears is that this track reminds me quite a bit of Freedom of Choice-era DEVO or in other words, as though it comes from some brutal and ridiculous post apocalyptic future that kind of resembles our own.