They come from a land down under and, no, I’m not referring to Men At Work. I’m talking about the Australian quartet, Atlas Genius, who’s debut album, When it was Now was released today. I’ve been waiting for this album to drop since the day I heard their first single, “Trojans” last year, which now seems like an eternity ago. I’ve really been enjoying their 4-track Through the Glass EP, but it just leaves me wanting more. The wait is finally over.
When it was Now is very heavily influenced by 80’s and early 90’s pop music, and it is apparent immediately on the first track, which is aptly named “Electric.” It begins with electronic 8-bit-sounding beat that is reminiscent of an old Nintendo game. After being sucked into a time-warp, you’re greeted with a big, synth-powered beat that is very familiar (and nostalgic, even) while also being refreshingly new. I almost feel like I’m listening to Depeche Mode, but it’s easily identifiable as something new and unique.
While the 80’s electro-synth style remains through much of the album, it is toned down a bit after the first track. The second track, “If So,” is one of my personal favorites on the album. This track features more of the typical alt-rock sound most fans are familiar with. The electronic sound is still there, but it takes a back seat to an actual drum beat and guitar riffs.
The fifth track, “Trough the Glass,” is a bit of a change of pace for the album. It begins with an acoustic guitar riff and soft base-line from the kick-drum, and gradually builds to the chorus which is very piano driven, accompanied by a harder drum beat, acoustic guitar and synthesized ambiance. The song has an ebb and flow between these two distinct sounds which, for lack of better words, I’ll simply call “small” and “big.”
The 80’s influence really reaches it’s climax on “Centered on You,” which, at least initially, sounds like it could be a Debbie Gibson song. This theme carries itself out through much of the album, and it’s not at all a bad thing. It gives Atlas Genius a very unique, signature sound which should attract fans of bands like Depeche Mode, but also fans of bands like Two Door Cinema Club and Foster the People.
The album includes club-style remixes of “Trojans” and “Back Seat,” which I could do without. Also included, however, is an acoustic version of “If So” which is truly one of the gems on this record. Atlas Genius has a very fun, upbeat sound and great vocals that are great to sing along to. After the long wait for this album, I’d say it was worth the wait. Check it out if you haven’t already.