Dave Munro, frontman for Air Traffic Controller -– and during a stint in the U.S. Navy, a real-life ATC! – spends a lot of time examining relationships at crossroads on his band’s sophomore LP, Nordo. In a neat bit of irony, Nordo reveals ATC’s sound to also be at a critical junction. Does ATC want to be a fizzy, synth-fueled indie pop band, as Nordo’s Side A suggests –- anchored by the superlative “Hurry Hurry”, which plays like the overcaffeinated YouTube-era answer to They Might Be Giants’ “Don’t Let’s Start” (right down to Munro’s nasal, clipped vocals), and its near-carbon copy “The Work” -– or the lush, cinematic chamber pop band that rules Side B? To these ears, ATC are better at the former, though I guess if you’ve got access to a forty-piece orchestra like ATC apparently does, you might as well avail yourself of their services. Unfortunately, given the sonic palette at his disposal, Munro’s reach often exceeds his grasp: the simmering “Blame” isn’t the cathartic album centerpiece the band thinks it is (though the awesome-kiss-recollection “Magic” comes close). The band does more with less, and really, the swoony strings detract from Munro’s well-observed lyrics about relationships at turning points. “You Know Me” finds a couple tenuously moving from friends to something more (“I think you can make me better”); “Any Way” could be that couple in five years, trying to patch things up (“Do you think we could try love again?”); “Different” is that couple splitting the difference (“We could be good friends and lovers just the same”). Munro, like the characters in his songs, needs to decide what he wants to be.
// Sound Affects
"The man whose songs were recorded by Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, David Allan Coe, The Highwaymen, and countless others succumbs to time’s cruel cue that the only token of permanence we have to offer are the effects of shared moments and memories.READ the article