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Saturday, September 23, 2023


They might be geniuses

By Zachary Burton

Atlas Genius’ “When It Was Now” was forcibly shoved down my throat through a relentless YouTube advertising campaign featuring banners and previews for every video watched. After having my third “Wonderwall” How-To video interrupted, I decided the album warranted a listen.

If this album is anything, it is summer. “When It Was Now” kicks off with “Electric,” which unfortunately sets the mood for the rest of the album. The track is upbeat with a synth line that would burrow itself in the back of your skull and gets you out of your chair. The album explodes with liveliness sending the desire to dance through anything with a pulse. It’s perfect music for driving to the beach or providing the soundtrack to a party.

As the track fades into silence setting me up for the next, the first seconds of “If So” — the second single from the record, a wise choice by the band — have me convinced I’m about to be hit with a dose of Death Cab for Cutie, but the band takes a hard left toward Two Door Cinema Club. It is here that the band’s strongest trait lives.

Throughout the record, the album constantly channels other acts, such as the previously mentioned bands, The Police and Foster the People. It is this blend of sounds that sells the band to me.

“Trojans,” the first single from the record, sounds like it could fit right in on Death Cab’s record “Codes and Keys.” I thought it was “Doors Unlocked and Open,” a track from Death Cab’s record. Coincidentally, “When It Was Now”‘s strongest point is also its weakest. Its semblance to other bands or songs sometimes made me just turn off the duplicate and flip over to the original.

The band’s uptempo nature, though, is something they can claim as its own with no contest. Every song is worthy of a jig, even the less remarkable, which is sadly the majority. For the most part, this record doesn’t have a myriad of single-worthy or notable songs and will probably fall into my library with nothing but a couple singles ever in rotation.

The efforts where the band tries to slow the beat such as “Centred on You” are arguably drowse inducing. The singer’s voice becomes an unaccented drone leading to dreaming. In their first shot at a record, these Australians are best to keep people dancing before they have time to stop and question the “profound” lyrics.

As it is their freshman effort, I look forward to seeing what else this band has in store, and with the music giant Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. behind them, I doubt it is its last.


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