Australia’s Atlas Genius is making quite the impression this year, especially with the release of their debut album “When It Was Now.”
Currently on tour with another hot band, Imagine Dragons, they’re playing to a majority of sold out shows in most of the cities they’re venturing to. The 3 Jeffery brothers and Darren Sell are making a great reputation for themselves in the states on this tour, and with much excitement, have their own headlining tour to follow.
“When It Was Now” is an album that 2013 needed to start the first half of the year with. Its hooks grab you and leave you transfixed in a guitar and synth dancehall daze, while begging for repeat listens.
It starts off with blazing track “Electric” which brings the spark to ignite the dancing machine. With enthusiastic rhythms and sentimental lyrics, the fantasy to pretend and flow on from the past starts the theme the whole album lightly follows.
“If So” highlights the unpredictable, uncontrolled parts of life, while relying on the constant “we know we’ll be coming.” Atlas Genius is particularly good at focusing on a repetitive verse, but making it stand out differently and meaningfully each time.
They definitely “sell you a feeling” in next track “Back Seat.” With gentle, cooing ohs interlaced with synth laden keys, simplicity and complexity combine to make the said “back seat” almost tangible or relatable.
Their single “Trojans” was originally released online, and made the Triple J Unearthed website. So far in the US, it’s ranked number 4 on the Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart. This song is probably the best song they could have put forward to represent themselves. It’s got the catchy chorus, the heartfelt lyrics of fighting memories (or Trojans) in your own head, and most importantly, the energetic instrumental that ties it all together until reducing to solitary piano to send off the song sweetly and slightly eerily.
“Through the Glass” is stripped back with acoustic guitar, handclaps, and bare vocals. It demonstrates that not only can they convolute sounds, they can peel back the layers just as effortlessly. Bringing back those layers “On A Day” maintains the moving and shaking and lives for the now.
“Centered On You” has echoing vocals of harmony that flow along with the synth pop beats, continuing into shortest but incredibly notable song “Don’t Make A Scene.” The latter is sort of the buffer of the album, comprising of a little of all the other elements. A steady bassline paired with fluid vocals and drums allows for the flexibility of the track to shine.
“All These Girls” is tender, but not short on the groove. With callback vocals on the pre-chorus, Keith isn’t the only brother who has a voice that stands out.
Title track “When It Was Now” starts dark and warped and hesitates to lighten, involving the original sound as an underlying layer of their multifaceted whir.
Ending track “Symptoms” fingerpicks its way into a rushing ballad that mimics the thrashing of waves (watch the video and it makes sense). Keith’s voice cries out “how did the water get so cold?” over deep bass and twinkling wooden xylophone pings. It’s also currently the iTunes single of the week.
For a bonus (which you can download free on their website for the exchange of your email address) Atlas Genius recorded “If So” acoustic at Electric Lady Studios, which is stripped gently and absolutely beautiful.
Personal Recommendations: Other than Trojans; If So, Don’t Make A Scene
Side Note: It’s probably my favorite album of 2013 so far.