Lefthand Records – 2005 – 59 minutes

The second album from producer-musician Ken McHugh's Autamata incarnation is a mixed bag in terms of style, but also of quality.

The introspective ballad 'Great For Us' appears alongside the frenzied 'Bring it On', the almost folksy 'Liberty Bell' and the melodious 'Goldilocks'. There's so much genre-jumping here that you almost become dizzy from it.

Openers 'I Spy' and 'Crazy' sound reasonably good, but it's with 'Bring it On' and 'Goldilocks' that you feel the album really comes into its own. The grungy, rock feel gives way to harmonious tinkling sounds nicely and you realise that the album is never going to stick to the same formula from song to song.

Perhaps because of the differing styles, you never get the intimacy here that you do with other albums. It's too disjointed a collection to create any kind of momentum. Some individual tracks stand out, but the lack of cohesion here means we don't engage as well as we could with the album.

With a few highlights in parts, 'Short Stories' unfortunately feels too disparate a collection to really blend well.

Katie Moten

Tracklisting: I Spy – Crazy – Bring it On –Goldilocks – Skimming Stones – The Tap – Dirtybird – Liberty Bell – Great For Us – Out to Sea – Summer's Son – A Clear View – All I Need