Music reviews by Maggie Nichols
Thursday Review Contributing Writer
Atlas Genius; When it Was Now
The indie-alternative band, Atlas Genius, has found the sweet spot and the sweet chords with their album “When it was Now,” an impressive collection of eleven entirely catchy and danceable songs. Released earlier this year by Warner Brothers, the Australian band’s new collection includes solid material from start-to-finish—one of those rare cases in pop music where there are literally no duds on the recording. Every song is likeable, from the 1980s-tinted opening cut, “Electric,” to the catchy vocals of “If So,” to the sweet rhythms of “Back Seat” (another paean to the revival of 80s sounds that these guys have perfected), to “Through the Glass,” a more complex song than the first several dance tracks. Two of the best two songs are “On a Day” and “Don’t Make a Scene.” Don’t look for sullen sounds here; every song on this album is upbeat. And the title cut, “When it Was Now,” is sure to be staple of alternative radio.
Daft Punk; Random Access Memories
As is the case with the new release by Atlas Genius and other indie bands, Daft Punk is helping to spawn a remarkable resurgence of interest in the sounds of the late 1970s and the 1980s. Daft Punk, which is primarily the duo of Guy-Manuel de Homen-Christo and Tomas Bangalter (along with other studio musicians), has found a specialized niche for electronic and synth sounds built upon evocative and infectious retro disco rhythms. Their new CD, Random Access Memories, will not disappoint fans of their unique style and sound. There are echoes in this music of Earth, Wind & Fire, The Commodores, The Buggles, Hall & Oates and even Duran Duran. Three songs are standouts: “Giorgio by Moroder,” “Get Lucky,” and “Doin’ It Right.”
Capital Cities; In a Tidal Wave of Mystery
These guys love to make likeable and catchy music, there’s no doubt about that. The enormous success of the single “Safe and Sound” channeled indie, alternative and mainstream pop fans and to the Capital Cities’ sound many months ago, and now that the entire album is available, their music does not disappoint. This group’s music is energetic almost to a fault, and there a few weak tunes on this album. Other standouts on this new album include “Kangaroo Court” and “Center Stage” (two more great tunes in the current flurry of compositions which pay homage to 80s sounds and rhythms) and “Farrah Fawcett Hair.” You won’t find any soft spots or duds on this collection.