Autotron: A person existing in servitude to a corrupt system whose control is so effective that the subject is either unaware of being exploited and perceives itself as essentially free, or is aware but chooses to live in a state of perpetual denial.
'This new EP is Costello's first solo release since his Halflife cassette in 1989 ... It starts with the haunting Tell Me Now, the shimmering theme to some forgotten cult ITC series from the early 1970s as if scored by a John Barry-inspired John Foxx. It's beautiful.
Artist Architect is a compulsory foray into vocoder territory ... It is defined by the deceptive simplicity of its construction, its angular electronics reflecting back the glass and concrete of the buildings which inspired its writing.
Cities In Question is a brilliant slice of synthpop. It's almost as if Costello had secretly written Karl Bartos' Communication album, keeping this song back for himself realising it would have been a highlight. Curiously, Costello's voice sounds remarkably like Bartos' and his lyrics, like his more famous German counterpart, also resound with the matter-of-fact commentary on a modern world of globe-trotting travel and bumping into celebrities in plush hotels in America: “Check out Scarlett Johansson, get high on her perfume”.
Nothing is the last of the four tracks and easily the most overtly dark entry here (reminding me of Costello's Lock, Load, Aim, Fire that featured on the Reproduktion 13 EP released earlier this year) ... Autotron is all the evidence one needs to recommend the name John Costello.'
Rob Dyer, DSOaudio
'We’re talking life under the flyover. Strict geometry and clean lines. A stark concrete vision in black and grey. There’s a deftness of touch on display here. Songs with a dark atmosphere but without the need for the boring over ‘thumpy’ sound that so much ‘EBM’ ‘Cyber’ music has. Proving you can have melody, you can have hooks and you don’t have to turn everything up to eleven. You can have almost Kraftwerk-like beats that are danceable without the same old thump.
There’s an identity there that sets it apart from the aforementioned bands, after all when you’ve heard that 4 on the floor distorted bassdrum once you’ve heard it a million times ... It’s a sound which seems to come from and build upon those portrayed by John Foxx, Kraftwerk and Numan in their earlier years. It’s taking those influences and running with them, building expanding and combining to produce something fresh ... we’d certainly wholeheartedly recommend this ep, particularly for anyone who has ever fancied the idea of looking cool in shades and a trenchcoat.'
Derek Williams, DEF
' The EP was produced by Geoff Pinckney (of Tenek) ... Martin Bowes (of Attrition) did the final mastering ... I already loved the sound, and the nice minimal wave of a song like 'Tell me now' just confirms all that good! The song is nice, catchy, dreamy and very vulnerable... I love the melancholic sound!
'Artist Architect' is more a robotic sound, closer to Kraftwerk, but potentially a dance floor hit as the beats are high enough to get you going. It's really a great composition!
'Cities in Question' is a great song, love the minimal wave and the melancholic sound. The cold male voice is blending in nicely!
The last song, 'Nothing', has a more harsh sound and fits perfectly for a party! A great song that keeps my attention!
I'm really lucky that I run into this one! Retro lovers simply have to listen to it, but I’m pretty sure that a lot of people will simply love it too.'
Filip Van Muylem, Peek-A-Boo magazine (Belgium)
Reproduktion 13 Festival, Roundhouse, May 4 2013 live review:
'John Costello is, apparently, the man behind this entire event, and an alumnus of the old school electronic scene ... Tonight he's one third of a three-piece band that includes - gasp! - Actual Guitars, while John himself, boffin-ish in the approved manner, stations himself behind the electronix pile in the middle.
We're immediately in the zone of classic old-school influences - not least on 'Artist Architect' which is so Kraftwerkian I think John Costello could probably run for mayor of Dusseldorf on the strength of it. I'm willing to bet he's a big fan of the first two Human League albums, too, for there's also a lot of 80s Sheffield in the sound (I'm sure tonight's event isn't called Reproduktion by accident).
But although you can hear John Costello's influences - frankly, they leap out at you, pulling faces and waving their arms around - he does good stuff with 'em. He has a winning way with wistful, pensive songwriting, set to sparse, uncluttered arrangements ... when the band pile in to 'Lock Load Aim Fire' - a vintage Slimelight industrial stomper, featuring 'nuff guitars - the show kicks up a gear and barges to a convincing finish.
Plot a triangle between Dusseldorf, Sheffield, and London and you'd find John Costello plumb in the middle. But he occupies the territory well.'
Nemesis To Go