My work will set me free and fulfill my dreams
Auto-Intoxication sounds a bit like a Journal for Plague Lovers leftover, in the sense how it has a similar playfulness to songwriting that many Journal tracks had. It’s one of them jigsawy type songs where almost unrelated parts are married together and the instrumentation’s more bare-bones; a bit of a detour on an album otherwise composed of straightforward pop/rock songs laden with strings and such. It’s not done in an all that masterful way mind you and comes off as a bit of a slice of raw potential, but I don’t want to bash it too much for that. In a period where the band’s songwriting is structurally fairly predictable, little moments like these where things are a bit loosened up are to be commended. And after the initial awkward period, it’s actually a swell enough song.
So, mid-tempo rocker verses, keyboard-drowned bridges and Journal for Plague Lovers-esque aggressive explosion choruses. The first one aren’t too interesting musically and for some reason the drum production is painfully weak (the snare seems to have been sapped of any power) but James’ vocals have an odd detached nature to them that serves as a positive thing, lifting the singing bits of the verses as the standout thing and additionally the second verse gets some additional kick under it which improves it ever so slightly. The bridges have pretty lovely keyboard work and generally that atmospheric drift reminds me of some past glories like the This Is My Truth era. The transition from the break to the chorus is done to a surprisingly well, but the chorus itself doesn’t work. It may sound like these days I’m completely against Manics ever rocking out fiercely but that’s not quite right as I do love them belting out riffers etc. It’s simply when the sections sound like they’ve been done for the sake of adding some rock noise for the hell of it that it begins to bore me. And the choruses of Auto-Intoxication are the song’s worst part – in a song with highly distinguishable parts it’s the one that jars the most and despite the good transition from the dreamy bridge the actual section seems abrupt and even a bit unnecessary.
Still, even if that would have been different Auto-Intoxication might have still sounded a bit like a b-side. A good b-side yeah, but something that gets obviously discarded from the album in lieu of stronger pieces that work better with the album’s general style and concept. Auto-Intoxication is a bit of a stylistical oddity and while it’s one of the more enjoyable less-polished tracks on Postcards, it doesn’t really feel like it belongs to the album all that well.