[10 April 2007]
I’m not one to quibble with titles, but think about it for a second: The Streets, the Sounds, and the Love. If there was ever an album title to pigeonhole a new band as one of those new breed of dumb, theatrical pop-punk types that people are still labeling ‘emo’, that’d be it. Enough to relegate one of a growing pile of unlistened-to CDs to bottom of the stack; a poor first impression. What do they say about judging a book? In New Atlantic’s case, not too much—because the music’s precisely as you’d expect from that summary dismissal. Piano-accented power pop, vocals over-emphasized in the style of All American Rejects, or, more recently in the public eye, My Chemical Romance. But this band is nowhere near as in command of their audience, or their sound: reaching blindly for a catchy melody that could guarantee them airtime, they miss more than hit, and end up with a series of tracks that, in the end, all sound quite similar. “Wire and Stone”, the band’s single, is probably the best song—it’s got a U2 quality of jangly exhaltation, but then again, it’s also got the album title in its lyrics. But apart from this we get conventional radio rock (Simple Plan style) on “Now That You’re Gone”, and overblown, somehow fake-sounding passion—for instance, the chorus on “Late Night Television”. Keep listening to last year’s Top 40, and you won’t have missed a thing in passing over New Atlantic. Shoulders shrugging in characteristic critic evasion, all I can say is, if they do make it big on the radio, we shouldn’t be surprised, but it’ll hardly be cause for a celebration.