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Atlas the Astronaut: 2012 EP

Atlas and the Astronaut is a four-piece rock band from my hometown of Vancouver, WA, USA. And, I guess you could say that I'm slightly proud to know we finally have a powerhouse Wolfmother - like rock band that actually mixes progressive rock, punk, and postmodern rock perfectly. This band rocks…loud!

Atlas and the Astronaut were established in 2011, and have played several shows locally and in the "Big City" next door, Portland, Oregon. This is their first self-produced and self-titled EP, and I believe they are off to a stellar beginning. The band is made up of Matt LeMieux, on electric guitar and synth; Casey Aspengren, on bass guitar; and Lucas Goughnour plays drums, acoustic guitar, and synth. They have recently added vocalist Beau Rosser to write lyrics and give the band a unique voice.

Lyrics and vocals are an important way of distinguishing a band's uniqueness, so let's start the review with vocalist Beau Rosser. Imagine if you can, Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother, vocals, mixed with the bite of Johnny Rotten. Yeh…that dynamic. You gotta hear it to believe it. Another good reason to check out this EP.

But the music is just as entertaining…and explosive. "Stone Burner", kicks it off with some excellent spacey electric guitar effects mixed well with acoustic guitars and hard hitting drums. The synthesizer helps add to the calm before the storm.

The Greek island of "Zakynthos", gets its own tribute here in the form of a stampede of blasting guitar, bass, and heavy drums, with Rosser carrying the day with power vocals.

"Uncle Elephant" is another high powered, fast moving rocker full of smashing drums and heavy guitar, with Rosser roaring loudly and punctuating the full force strength of the rhythm behind him. This and the last track remind me of the early power of Pearl Jam's in-the-face albums, "Ten" and "VS".

"Pleasures", slows things down with some cool, slow electric lead and bass, mixed well at the beginning. This track also gives you another perspective on Rosser's vocals, showcasing his range.

"Marrow, The Anchor", furthers displays the "softer" side of the band. This one even brings back memories of the guitars from some of my favorite Chameleons UK albums. The "wavy" guitars add a psychedelic flavor to the mix.

"Fatigue for the Quail", truly slows things down as Rosser's vocals almost take on a Jim Morrison/Doors poetry edge, amidst wonderful slow plucked acoustic guitar. Unfortunately it only lasts a minute. Hopefully on a full length album they will expand on this type of music. The echoing sound effects are just amazing.

"Language of Leaves", brought back more of that cool funky Chameleons-like guitar matched with more of Rosser's vocals, which this time almost remind me of the biting raw sound of Fish on Marillion's early 80s masterpieces. Rosser's vocals also bring back memories of the power of Ed Kowalczyk's vocals on "Secret Samadhi".

"The Flight (Part I)" has a cool, early 60s, echoing Phil Spector, "Wall of Sound" to it. Fantastic idea to add even more dimension to their sound. Can't wait to hear them expand on this work with a full length album.

Nobuko Hori's art is completely unique and literally explosive!

This band is well packaged and has given their launch a lot of thought. They are off to an amazing start!

Track Listing:

1. Stone Burner
2. Zakynthos
3. Uncle Elephant
4. Pleasures
5. Marrow. The Anchor
6. Fatigue for the Quail
7. Language of Leaves
8. The Flight (Part I)

Added: August 13th 2012
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
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Hits: 2360
Language: english

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