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Lit: Atomic

Stephanie Dickison



Label: RCA
US Release Date: 2001-10-16

The sound of a helicopter fills your ears. A crowd roars as the propellers whip through your brain. A guitar starts whining like the voice of a generation done wrong. Heavy on the guitars, a sound reminiscent of the angst-ridden 90's, Lit is on the scene again with Atomic, their most recent release since A Place in the Sun two years ago. However, it is a gentler, more mature Lit, but don't be fooled by the "gentler" label. They haven't trashed their loud riffing and earth-shattering drumming.

It seems that Lit has moved past that crazed MTV generation of bands that were as vapid as the VJs themselves. They are well aware that they are on the cusp of poppy rock, although they are frequently pitched into the Alternative and Indie categories. But, it seems since they have decided to embrace the pop sensibility, it is serving them extremely well.

Atomic is sure to be a long-lasting alternative album. It has all the elements of a well-produced CD. There are the familiar sounds of The Pursuit of Happiness, Weezer, Sloan, Oasis, Third Eye Blind, Cheap Trick and even, gasp! Van Halen. There are the requisite heavy hitters such as "Someone to Someone" and "Live for This", but the softer side of Lit is oh-so-attractive in songs like "Addicted" ("I'm so addicted to you, but you're such a dick to me"), their current release "Lipstick and Bruises", the Goo Goo Dolls-like "Slip", Third Eye Blind's younger sister, "She Comes", the neo-Beach Boy "Sunny Weather", and the almost-ballad, "Happy in the Meantime". There is a confidence here that not only comes with age but with making records time and again. Touring over the years with No Doubt, Garbage and Offspring has given them a base of maturity upon which to build their musical CV. But, with words like "Wow! This is rad!" and a penchant for Jagermeister ("Jager"), they are still boys in the alternative world filled with men like Jeff Martin of The Tea Party, Beck, or Elvis Costello. But even if you aren't an alternative lover, this pop-friendly CD may not be earth shattering, but the songs are fun and funny. Think Sloan with Barenaked Ladies-type lyrics.

The best way to describe their music is this: Atomic's "The Last Time Again" was featured in American Pie 2. This kind of universal song is not only going to appeal to the thirteenth generation but perhaps to those just turning thirty, trying to eke out the last few years of penultimate cool/hipness.

For a band that formed in 1990, this is a long way from the days when Orange County held the reins on who was hot (Lit, No Doubt, Korn), and who wasn't (anyone mainstream).

If you don't think you're going to like their sound, you're wrong. There's something here for everyone and it is far from the loudness that was their first CD, Tripping the Light Fantastic, and is a softer version of their second release, A Place in the Sun.

This isn't going to be something that you'll listen to over and over, but you'll listen. And you'll be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.

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