Arrows Over Athens

The Atlas EP

Written by: TL on 15/12/2012 18:51:36

I'm a fan of the concept of having dual vocals in your band, even boy/girl vocals, despite not really knowing a great many bands that have worked this approach very well. This is a likely reason for me writing down to give young Arrows Over Athens a try when their EP "The Atlas" was sent to earlier this year. Because in guitarist Randy Burlingame and bassist Mimi Herrick, AOA actually seem to have a pair of recognisable and powerful vocalists, and the fact that this 2nd EP of theirs also casts them as intending to play an up-beat, technical pop-punk doesn't hurt either. There are even screams added here and there - interesting!

Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear upon listening to the relatively catchy, opening title track, that despite some decent vocal exchanges and promising arrangements, AOA are not very developed yet as neither soundsmiths nor songsmiths. The parts to "Atlas" fit together okay, but the song feels like it was written as an exercise for the band, more than because there was feeling or content at its heart that the group wanted to communicate. I get a similar impression from the following tunes of "Truth Be Told" and "Oh, We Tried (But, But We Can't Change Fate)", and while I like the moments when Burlingame slides his singing into an occasional scream, it does not sound comfortable when either singer tries to push for their highest notes, and especially the times when they do so simultaneously, are slightly grating.. And though this EP is not exactly an example of big-budget production, I still worry if these strained harmonies don't end up sounding unfortunate in the live setting more often than they come out clean.

Lastly, the cover of Rick Astley's infamous "Never Gonna Give You Up" is both underproduced and just generally an idea that should probably never have left the rehearsal space. I'm sure it was fun coming up with it, but it just feels a little lame here. All in all, I guess I'm a little disappointed with "The Atlas EP", because I like AOA's ideas, I just think the execution is a little bit too mediocre at this point.


Download: Atlas, Truth Be Told
For The Fans Of: We Are The In Crowd, Paramore, Evarose

Release Date 19.06.2012

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