While its creators might argue otherwise, Cancel Standard is basically an electro album, following the lead of Autonomic head honchos Instra:mental (right down to the acid undercurrents in "Mr Spalding's Neighbourhood"). Where their debut single was nominally 170 BPM drum & bass much like "Invisible Cities," here the tracks often hover in the 130 BPM range. Structurally there are no rules; tracks fizzle out or break down unpredictably, and lengths vary from one to four minutes each, lending the album an ebb-and-flow that works both for and against it. The way the album seems to whiz by makes for a breathtaking panoramic whole, but it's at the expense of individual tracks—each vignette doesn't seem like much when it's taken outside the context of the holistic expanse.
While the songwriting on Cancel Standard might be a bit haphazard, the aesthetic is purely and wholly Autonomic, marrying Consequence's enviable gift for smooth, agreeable melodies and Joe Seven's weighty but measured percussive whomp. The cold and prickly palette of electro is lit up with warm analogue on "Nuevo 37," smothered in lavish reverb on "Nageslover" and haunting melodies blanket the album like a comforting fog. Moments of sensory overload stand out like flashes of lightning—the swooping orchestral maneouvres in the dark of the title track, or the lovably gaudy electric guitar screams on "Katchatorie"—but they're merely brief moments that quickly recede.
Unlike so much other Autonomic, it's hard to call Cancel Standard "dance music" when it's more easily nestled in with more cerebral, similarly scatterbrained electronic music (don't make me break out the i-word). It's a restless, fitful quality emphasized by the album's sequencing, short and sweet like a classic early electronic LP. But like other Autonomic, it's metal machine music run through with warm-blooded mechanisms, old-school electro expressed in the rich textural palette of late '70s Pink Floyd and early synth pop. It just goes to show that this particular scene, spirit or style—whatever you want to call it—has endless possibilities. Wherever Cancel Standard exists, it's an unassuming little novella that proves surprisingly fulfilling if you take the time to crack it open.