and His Package
Attention! Blah Blah Blah
music and style have been offensively deemed "nerd core,"
when there's nothing nerdy about it. Nay, Atom may well be the only
propagator of true social commentary in this time of angst, weeping
and shameless self-absorption. While the emo kids are wailing about
their broken hearts, Atom is raging against the toils of home moving
(in his case, apartment moving), one-sided hubris (in this case,
Middle East issues), smoking (it's still not cool), and still has
time to write a love song to his grandmother. The song titles alone
make it worth a listen (respectively, "Possession (not the
one by Danzig," "The Palestinians Are Not the Same Thing
as the Rebel Alliance, Jackass," "Friend, Please Stop
Smoking," and "Does Anyone Else in the Room Want to Marry
His or Her Own Grandmother?").
The Philly native's wit,
intelligence and nonchalant way of cutting through the crap make
this more than just a pop-punk novelty record. Musically, Atom's
trusty sequencer -- his "package" and entire traveling
back-up band -- is getting more and more help from, well Atom, on
guitar, drums, bass and other keyboards. In fact, I'm not sure how
the ol' boy is gonna do this one on the road by himself (and probably
never will, as he isn't scheduled to come through Omaha any time
Sonically, think Weird
Al's whiney, nasal voice crossed with The Dead Milkmen, or The Mountain
Goats with lots of electronic doo-hickeys. He gets better and better
with each record -- better melodies, better instrumentation, and
more thoughtful and clever lyrics. If Bright Eyes is the new Bob
Dylan, than Atom might be the new Arlo Guthrie. Or Smothers Brothers.
Or Randy Newman.
Posted May 9, 2003.
Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
may well be the only propagator of true social commentary in
this time of angst, weeping and shameless self-absorption."