by Mike DaRonco
So it’s finally come down to this. What originally began as a series of four-track recorded songs that were probably only meant to be passed around to Atom’s circle of friends has now become an underground phenomenon. Along with a Yamaha QY 700 Sequencer (otherwise known as His Package) Atom and His Package has recorded three albums worth of inside jokes, clever lyrics — as noted with titles such as “After School Special Stands for Ass” and “Sting Cannot Possibly Be The Same Guy Who Was in The Police” — and quirky covers ranging from Fugazi to Born Against to the Ghetto Boys.
To be blunt, Redefining Music is the same joke told the fourth time around, with the apparent home recordings, the nasally vocals reminiscent of Urkel, and an erratic nostalgia for ’80s New Wave that sounds as if The Buggles and Devo got together and decided not to take themselves too seriously. At the same time, it would be a tragedy if this formula ever changed.
If anything, the lyrics have more of a personal-political bite than previous releases. “For Franklin” is a nice tribute to his best friends in the band Franklin. And it still manages to sneak in a good laugh: “As we lower the Franklin casket into the ground/With our hearts on our hands/Hold on guys before your band dies/You owe $400 to my mom for your van.” Then there’s “If You Own The Washington Redskins, You’re a Cock,” which attacks any sports team that takes its name from a Native American stereotype.
Of course, there’s the usual brand of silliness noted on “Mission 1: Avoid Job Working With Assholes” and a bouncy rendition of Madonna’s “Open Your Heart.” Nothing that Atom and His Package hasn’t already done before, but its Peter Pan syndrome of always having fun while never ignoring its friends and politics around it won’t get old anytime soon.
E-mail Mike DaRonco at email@example.com.