With infectious beats and catchy vocals, Australian alt-rock trio Atlas Genius have come a long way since their first online release in 2011. Their first track, “Trojans”, (recorded in their own homemade studio) was featured on the blog site ‘Neon Gold’, generating such a buzz that it was being consistently rated top 5 on Sirius/XM’s Alt-Nation Alt-18 countdown, even after a year of its recording. “Trojans” even held the number one spot for four consecutive weeks in January 2012.
The Aussies then signed with major record label Warner Bros. records and put their nose to the grindstone to capitalize on their new fame. With Atlas Genius’ debut album When it Was Now, their rise is sure to continue.
The band has established its identity as a streamlined, almost ethereal-sounding rock band, that doesn’t rock too hard or too soft. It is all a seamless production, where keyboard riffs from Darren Sell blend perfectly with acoustic picking from singer/guitarist Keith Jeffrey (i.e. “Symptoms”). The type of band that, when they come on the radio, make you start busting a move behind the steering wheel.
The first couple of songs of the album are absolutely, positively the potential hits. The rhythms of “Electric”, “If So”, and “Backseat”, practically force your foot to bounce to the beat. Michael Jeffrey’s drums seem to run the show from the back, especially in “If So”, which is featured in the video game FIFA 13. For “Backseat” you feel like you’ve been transported into a hazy late-night bar, thanks mostly to K. Jeffrey’s smooth, soft, and assertive vocals. In “Through the Glass” the music appears to be on the cusp of swallowing up the sound of his voice entirely, but he somehow stays prominent in the song.
The title track “When it was Now” branches into a more techno side, keeping with the theme of the middle of the album. This part of the record appears to be held together by familiar loops, separating itself with some abrupt song transitions (that the band surprisingly manages to pull off). Even with the songs that don’t quite achieve what they were intended to, “Don’t Make a Sense” and “All These Girls”, the potential is evident.
Adopting a more commercialized tone to some of the creative dalliances that Atlas Genius uses to spice up their normal groove would be well advised. However, as long as they stick to the path they’ve laid out for themselves with When It Was Now, they’ll be way more than fine. Score: 8.5/10.
Zealand Shannon / Sports Editor