In Desolate Times

Written by: TL on 11/10/2010 14:58:03

Wow, seems I really did manage to gather some momentum this time around, so let's see if I can keep this productivity up shall we? The next subject for my scrutiny is Atlas&i, a young six-piece from Norwich UK. Having no prior knowledge of the band, I turn to their myspace for a general impression, and the page claims that these lads are about "mixing a blend of new era rock whilst maintaining a high level of mainstream appeal".

If one is to interpret from their first album "In Desolate Times", this 'new era rock' they speak of is generally a sound that we've known for a few years, except we've been calling it 'melodic post-hardcore' and except Atlas&i don't include any screams or similar harsh backing vocals the way we're used to. Other than that though, the instrumental side of things is easily comparable to bands like Exit Ten, Flood Of Red and Saosin.

The question then immediately becomes one of whether A&i bring anything to the table to set them apart from those peers, and in that department, I must admit there's not too much to report on. As songwriters and players, the guys have put together eight tracks that are reasonably solid passes at the traditional 'soaring-melodies-over-distorted-chords' approach, though without coming up with any truly spectacular hooks. Singer Matt Snelling performs well enough in the role as the desperate top-of-his-lungs-crooner, staying on key from what I can hear, yet also constantly balancing a strain in his voice that betrays the stress on his upper register.

What "In Desolate Times" is in my ears, is a milestone marking that crucial early point in a band's career, when they've gotten far enough to put out an album that realizes their chosen sound in a believable and consistent manner. Each song is as good and reasonably powerfully performed as the next one, and yet, on the flipside of things, A&i still have a stretch to progress ahead of them, as is clear from the lack of tracks that stand out in the memory of the listener after the record has run its course, and from the lack of things really setting the band apart from their peers and influences.

Download: This Won't Mean A Thing, Love; The Great Divide; Away Beneath The Skyline
For The Fans Of: Exit Ten, Flood Of Red, Saosin

Release Date 25.10.2010
Small Town Records

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