Singer/songwriter Kenny Fleetwood and bassist Alex Parker moved from small-town Riverton, Wyo., (population 10,000) to Missoula last summer with an un-mastered demo and an idea for a band. Shortly upon arriving the two teamed up with guitarist Dennis Webber and drummer Kevin Froines, both formerly of Simple as it Seems and Four Reasons Why.
The result of this sudden arrangement is Automatic Boy’s debut full-length, Airstrips Attract Airplanes, a quintessential DIY effort that follows in the footsteps of emo rock acts like Brand New and The Early November. The album’s tempo runs the gamut from nearly manic on the aptly named “Ready to Go” to the slow and mellow musings of “Best Excuse.” It bogs down a little in the latter, but Airstrips Attract Airplanes takes off when the band stays upbeat, such as on the catchy “Communists” and “Only the Best,” which starts with a casual guitar riff before exploding into a vocal barrage from Fleetwood, who sounds like a dead-ringer for Say Anything’s Max Bemis.
Airstrips Attracts Airplanes is a promising debut, and if Automatic Boy continues with more of the rock and less of the placid emo, the band may attract a loyal local audience. (James Laber)
Automatic Boy plays an all-ages CD-release show Friday, Oct. 19, at Higgins Hall, 617 S. Higgins Ave, at 7 PM. $5.