Review Summary: A competent debut with a few moments of pure gold.
2 of 2 thought this review was well written
For the most part, Atlas Weights' debut self-titled EP sets them as your typical Aussie rock group, with only a few qualities that make them stand out in a crowd. There are some excellent moments here, most of them occurring when the band branch out and add a little quirk into the mix, such as “Juju Fever”, which sees lead singer Max Rapley experiment with a little spoken word. It works in exactly the way it's supposed to: mildly funny because of his over the top antics, while simultaneously adding a nice slice of variety.
Not that this EP needs much more variety, Atlas Weights have done well with that side of things. Progressive tendencies in the second half do most of the work in that regard, expanding the sound laid down on the first few tracks. Unfortunately it's hit and miss; out of the two major progressive tracks at the end (“Nightwalker” and “The Forest Song”), the former comes out the best, benefiting from obvious jazz influences that sustain it well enough (though not excellently). “Forest Song” on the other hand drags on much longer then it should and could easily have been culled from the track list, particularly with the left-field, percussion explosion at the end. Thankfully that’s the biggest misstep here, and the other tracks do enough to cover it up.
“The Escape Artist” grooves along nicely, with arguably Rapley’s most varied performance, and John-Mikael Hellqvist’s rolling guitar work synchronizing with Nick Meredith’s drums. The result is enjoyable, albeit slightly generic, alt. rock. The band's best asset is easily Hellqvist, his riffs carry the songs past the hit and miss vocals (Rapley is good, but he can’t help but fall out of tune on occasion), almost non-existent bass (sorry, Matt Johnson, you really aren’t that prominent anywhere on this EP) and often insane drums. Hellqvist's robotic rhythm on “Icarus Complex” is probably the best example of this, as during the climax the vocals become obnoxiously distorted and the drums go everywhere at once, but Hellqvist remains solid.
The moments of gold (such as the aforementioned spoken word in “Juju Fever”) are what make this EP shine, and thankfully they’re not too few and far between to make it a good listen as a whole. The problem areas aren’t that big either, or difficult to address. The band just have a few annoying tendencies, like the long-windedness of “The Forest Song” and things like that. Hopefully this EP is just the beginning for Atlas Weights, as it shows they have the potential to climb, they’ve just got to use it in the right way.
Oh, I decided that the first time I got a proper troll negging.
Gyromania Contributing Reviewer September 17th 2010
Take from that what you will
Some of this is awkwardly phrased to me, like this.
its hit and miss;
Small typo - 'it's'.
“The Escape Artist”, for instance, grooves along nicely, with arguably Rapley’s most varied performance, and John-Mikael Hellqvist’s rolling guitar work acting in tandem with Nick Meredith’s drums.
I don't think "Tandem" works in the way you've chosen to use it... maybe it's the 'in' right before it, but I'm not entirely sure on that one, but the rest of the sentence reads fine; however, it's an awkward way to start the third paragraph as it doesn't expand on the second at all, but reads like it was intended to. I think it would read a lot better if you took out "for instance".