Reasons to like Crashing Atoms — they actually list a hidden track and have the legend “Song Order” over the titles, like they don’t expect the audience is gonna figure things out. And I like that they include the lyrics because it’s important to know what the words are (“I am that funny man, that funny man is who I am” and “she’s no chicken choker”). There are bigger reasons to like Crashing Atoms. For instance, the opening track, “Shake It,” sounds like the drums were recorded in 1969 and everything else was dubbed over two years after that. Couldn’t decide if it was a sonic homage to the MC5 or The Cult on a limited budget. Track two, “White Trash Girl,” brings everything sonically up to date (it just sounds like The Cult) but then everything switches to pop overthrow and singer Kris Pagel’s high pitched yelp on “Mistreated” recalls Material Issue.
Any band would be proud to house the first three songs under their “Song Order” signage, but nearly every successive song sounds as if it was a leftover from some former heavy metal jam-band project. And while there are good songs to be had later in the disc, the sorry seeds of doubt have been spilt. Maybe this recording caught the Atoms in a transitional period; if so, let’s hope next time they kick out the jams and just kick out the songs that sound like jams. If this record were a Kellogg’s Variety Pack, “Shake it” and “Super Pot Smoker” would be the Frosted Flakes and songs such as “Death of a Dream” and “Pet” would be the stale Product 19 that just sits there in the plastic packaging for months.
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