Autogramm: “WannaBe”

Tyler McLeod

Forty years after its original run, it truly feels like a piece of the ’80s is back with an attitude. And no…not just in terms of inflation, world conflicts, or a war on drugs; it’s the music too. Sure, there’ve been countless contemporaries who’ve incorporated a retro aesthetic into their modern sound, but we’re talking more about stuff that makes it hard to distinguish when it actually came out.

Take for instance Autogramm. The Vancouver quartet (with members also hailing from Seattle and Chicago) just wheeled out their third full-length Music That Humans Can Play last Friday, and just glancing at the cover, you can tell exactly which decade they’re trying to fit in with. Hell, even the title touches on that lovable Gen X-era sarcastic apathy. Made in the wake of their 2021 sophomore No Rules, MTHCP was a pandemic-stricken re-evaluation of the group as a whole, and goddamn are we happy Autogramm decided to stick with the program and add guitarist Lars Von Seattle to their ranks. Just like their 20th century predecessors, Autogramm’s transformed from artsy punk into synth-driven new wave and power pop, which, as mentioned before, makes this new material hard to separate from the authentic ’80s OGs.

If you happen to be in Western Europe next March, you’ve got ample chances to catch Autogramm live. If not, we recommend spinning Music That Humans Can Play in its entirety, whether or not you’ve got an old-school speaker setup because at a hair over a half hour, Music That Humans Can Play – true to its title – is plenty accessible. Shoot, you could probably get away with slipping the full album into your favorite ’80s playlist and no one would second guess that it came out this year. And that’s thanks to its big and bold production – processed to kingdom come but bearing the same simplistic formulas of chart-toppers like The Cars and Gary Numan. So without much more than the actual release date to convince us this record isn’t a long lost relic, if you love the ’80s, you’ll “WannaBe” in close company with Autogramm’s latest.



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