For the guys that comprise Chelsea Automatic, the past year has been about coming home and getting back to basics.

For the guys that comprise Chelsea Automatic, the past year has been about coming home and getting back to basics.

First, the geography: J Fina, Jim Possible, Eric Hangover and Alex Scott Donaldson grew up in New Albany but quickly gravitated toward the Columbus punk scene. They were the snotty teens sneaking drinks at Bernie's and playing at Midgard Comics in bands like Ken Starr Report and The Spooks.

When they graduated high school in 2004, Donaldson left to study guitar at Berklee College of Music in Boston. One by one, the other guys found their way to Beantown, eventually forming an '80s-style metal band and playing around the East Coast.

By last summer, they had grown disenchanted with their band, the Boston music scene and the technique-first wankery of musical academia.

"You would think, Boston versus Columbus, that Boston would have the better scene," Donaldson said, "but Columbus is Columbus Rock City."

So they returned last summer looking for a fresh start. They moved into a house on Campus, started writing songs and booked as many shows as they could. They aimed to write "drinking songs and dancing songs," straightforward rock 'n' roll built on power chords and melodic howls.

Within weeks of forming the band, they dialed up producer Jon Chinn, whose previous clients - New Bomb Turks, The Favors, The Sun - were among Chelsea Automatic's earliest influences.

"I think of the bands I listened to when I was young and I think literally half of them were produced by this guy," Donaldson said.

The band works fast. Less six months after they formed, they entered Central City Recording with Chinn and cranked out their debut album, Band Drinks Free.

Although it features silly titles like "Pay the Toll if You Wanna Rock N Roll," the album is one of the more impressive debuts to emerge from Columbus lately - slick, brash, catchy and reminiscent of British breakout bands like The Kooks and Arctic Monkeys.

The band has been sending the album to every label they can find, even companies that specialize in German pop and spoken word. Until they find a taker, they're putting it out themselves. The release show March 6 at the Newport Music Hall will be filmed for an upcoming DVD release.

Chelsea Automatic has lots of other upcoming shows around the state, including Saturday's gig at the Scarlet & Grey, which will no doubt be followed by one of their notorious house parties at their nearby pad. They like to play their album for drunken revelers in an attempt to embed it in their subconscious.

As Fina put it, "We're inseminating the city of Columbus with booze and our music."