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Album review: Atlas Genius packs a punch with catchy lyrics in ‘When It Was Now’

 

A poppy synth back beat paired with live instrumentation and distinct vocals packages the 11-track Atlas Genius album. 

The album, “When It Was Now,” opens with “Electric,” which has an almost ’80s power-pop sound, until the vocals rush in and ground the song in more modern indie rock. The song practically begs to be remixed for dance clubs.

The single, “If So” is similar to the band’s breakout single “Trojans,” which was released in 2011. With the punchy back beat and catchy chorus, the song seems more suitable for a summer single to be blasted on beaches, rather than to be released in the cold depths of February. 

The Aussie rockers change the pop tone with “Through The Glass.” Nestled in the center of the album, the song strips away the synth beats used in the other songs for a more acoustic touch. While in the other tracks, the vocals have an almost droning quality to balance the punchier and more utilized synths, the vocals in “Through The Glass” hit a wider range and tone to fill out the softer acoustic track. 

“On A Day” has the best opener of all the tracks. A deep, rolling drum introduces a subtle beat for a unique intro. 

“Don’t Make A Scene” introduces a more obvious piano part but doesn’t stack up to the rest of the tracks. The vocals in “Don’t Make A Scene” actually do tend to drone, and not in a way which complements the instrumentals.  

“All These Girls” creates a more mellow tone. The guitar riffs are more prominent, and the track sounds less electronic than the rest. 

The biggest problem was the formulaic structure of the songs. Atlas Genius found a formula that worked with “Trojans” and did not feel the need to stray far. While most of the tracks are catchy, head-bobbing and single-ready, many have the same undertones which make up “Trojans.” 

“When It Was Now” is successful in the balance between pop and indie rock. The synths are at times so overpowering that they are all you can hear, and the album is similar to The Postal Service in its fusion of indie rock and electronic. 

 

Grade: A-

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