Ireland has never been a fertile hunting ground for electronica lovers. Whereas over the water there have always been a myriad of bands and producers bubbling away, you'd struggle to think of any Irish act that's made any significant impression over the past decade.
'Colours Of Sound', the third album released by Autamata, also known as Ken McHugh, should do its bit to redress that balance. Four years since debut album 'My Sanctuary' and two years after 'Short Stories', 'Colours of Sound' finds Mr McHugh in an up-beat and positive mood.
The band’s first two releases were subsequently raided for film soundtracks and TV ads and it wouldn’t come as a big surprise if the same was done for this one. Painting soundscapes is what Autamata seem to have a knack for, and tracks like ‘Inter-railing’, ‘Watching the World Go By’ and ‘A Drive through the Countryside’ with their themes of travel could be the perfect accompaniment for long bus journeys.
When it's turned up a notch however, the band truly gets into their swing and get feet tapping. 'What You All About', 'Come Party at my House' and in particular 'Music's All We Need' all benefit from the increase in tempo.
Earlier incarnations of Autamata contained the notable vocals of Cathy Davey. Now a successful artist in her own right, Davey guests on 'Cloud-Seekers', a hectic two minute forty three seconds of electro-pop which despite the catchy verses is let down by the chorus.
Elsewhere on the album, opening track 'Effervescent' does its best to lull the prospective listener into a false sense of security, a wispy instrumental with a decent melody, you get the feeling it could have better served the album appearing at the end.
Strings, provided by the Cora Venus Lunny Violin Orchestra, and McHugh’s own talents as a multi-instrumentalist combine well, particularly on the last two songs of the album.
Irrepressively up-beat in nature, 'Colours Of Sound' is a solid album, made all the more commendable for the lonely task of flying the flag of Irish electro-pop.