Often when you’re in quarantine or practicing social distancing or whatever the proper terminology is these days, you can feel like the days all seem the same. Is it Saturday or Tuesday? I don’t fucking know and it doesn’t matter a great deal if you’re a non-essential like myself. The latest release by Mississauga Ontario’s The Noble Rogues Automata (released Jan 31st 2020) propagates that ethos in begging the question “haven’t I heard these songs a thousand times before?”
Maybe I’ve developed a grumpy old man complex. Maybe my lack of vitamin D has distorted my judgement of good and bad music but I just don’t get a whole lot of satisfaction listening to these four tracks. “New Damnation” for all of its generic blues progressions and macho hard rock lyrics, deserves some attention; it begs to be played on the radio, perhaps rightly so in that it is nicely produced and mixed. Vocalist/guitarist Shane Saunderson has a palatable voice that I believe people who still listen to the radio would really enjoy. The song opens with the line “I got a problem with this new generation.” But maybe the real problem is that The Noble Rogues play music for the old generation. Automata is the type of record I would fully expect my over the hill, still clinging to the 70’s uncle to whip out of his car CD player and pop on at a family BBQ.
“Choose Your Words” is a mid-range rocker full of bravado and badassery that calls to mind Theory of a Deadman or Puddle of Mudd, a great driving track or mood setter, if you’re in the mood for pounding energy drinks and going for a rip on the four-wheeler. “Compiler” slows the pace down and truly brings out the shine in Saunderson’s voice, the guy can belt, but ultimately the track doesn’t tread on enough interesting ground and simmers below boiling.
Ending with “Sleep When You’re Dead” Automata remains firmly planted in grooving on the blues rock through and through. Personally I think I’ll just go to sleep on this one now, but if you are a fan of driven blues rock and you still have Nickelback CD’s buried under your car seats, you’ll wanna check out The Noble Rogues.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*Edited by Dominic Abate