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Hailed as a pioneer of the “futurepop” subgenre within electronic music, VNV Nation has had a long standing reputation within the EBM scene. They are responsible for an extensive discography spanning over 21 years. Given such a great amount of releases, for an electronic oriented group they’ve remained largely consistent with perhaps a few changes in very recent years to keep in stride with modern era sounding electropop.

Lyrically, VNV has largely focused on this sort of distanced speculation and observations on culture, world views, human expression, and personal relationships. Often, the group’s albums feature very lyrically introverted tracks while having an upbeat and danceable anthem of a song.

Beyond that, they’ve often submerged themselves entirely in melancholic musical elements filled with remorseful and emotional lyrics complimented by engagingly warm pads, pianos, and other easy listening instrumentation sufficiently exemplified in tracks like “Illusion” from 2007’s Judgement. Indeed, the very last track on the record (“As it Fades“) offers no vocals to speak of instead opting for cold pads and whispered orchestral elements.

Vocals have always been a fundamental element for VNV Nation and as such, its presentation and lyrical delivery on this album is as solid as it has been on previous records. The real differences that make this album from previous VNV works is how well each track compliments each other until the record’s completion. Additionally, the quality of lyrics has made a marked improvement (in this writer’s mind) from their last release with 2009’s Of Faith, Power, & Glory. Here it is immediately obvious that they were inspired.

A cursory listen may show that Automatic is a musically comparative adventure to Of Faith, Power, & Glory in that the pop-iness in that album reflects with this output here, however Automatic definitely proves to be a more fruitful and engaging record topped with more energetic and cohesive tracks. Really, it deserves comparisons to 2000’s Empires (excerpt) – these lyrics are inventive and they are delivered with swift and carefree execution.

Empires is largely seen as VNV Nation’s most iconic and crowning achievement and was followed up by another excellent record with Futureperfect in 2002 (an iconic song is presented in this album) and I’d submit that Automatic may indeed be their best work since then.

Be sure to check out this band’s previous works including Matter + Form released in 2005 as well as the records mentioned above. Here’s an excellent and motivated track from the album that I find is overlooked amongst other jewels in VNV’s discography.

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  1. vnv has always (i grew up listening to them) been a band that has a lot of tracks i love but no full albums i enjoy all the way through, but i think that changed with this record.

      • isleptintheseclothes
      • Posted October 7, 2011 at 01:10
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      I dunno. I really, really enjoyed Empires and Futureperfect. There were certain tracks that I have to be in the right mood for (like Structure off of Futureperfect) but I suppose it all evens out in the end. I also grew up with VNV so I’m excited that this album didn’t let me down. It’s pretty solid.

      I really like comparing VNV to Assemblage 23 and Covenant. All these guys are in my mind the kings of this kind of music.

        • apopagasm
        • Posted October 7, 2011 at 01:41
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        i’m giving empires another listen right now; this post made me realize i hadn’t listened to it (or much vnv at all) in over a year.

        and if you ask me very little in this genre even approaches the greatness of the parallel project is up there, along with binary park and hopefully soon acretongue, but other than a handful of vnv tracks i absolutely love (further, tempest, testament, chrome, serial killer, etc) i’ve never been that big a fan of the big 3.

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