a’tris – Lensing
Mark Records / Tunecore (2/19/08)
Rock / Alternative
a’tris is one of those bands that seem hard to pigeon-hole into a set genre; hints of Radiohead (without being overly pretentious), 30 Seconds to Mars (without the pop hook), Open Hand (without the crunch) and Deftones (without the metal edge) merge into a music experience.
There are flourishes, there’s rock and pop bending together, there’s mood and melancholy and joy, and it’s all put together in a way that seems brilliant yet simple. That’s not to say that this is a perfect album, or one of the best albums of the year. But there’s plenty of glimmers of musical magic. The weakness of a’tris lies in its indie-ness, if that makes any sense. The band is so underground, or so non-conventional, that it seems to suffer as a result.
When the band is clicking, Lensing is really good—the grind of opener “Paradise Is a Boxcar”, the hook of “Automatic Doors”, the flourish of “Selling Oxygen”, the beauty of “This Mortal Engine”. In fact, the entire first half of the album is pretty much spot on.
Some of the later tracks start to sound a little too much like Radiohead, and the songs become almost uninspired. It’s difficult to put your finger on, but these tracks just seem to lack the spark of the album’s first half.
This is a good album. The band, or the group of musicians, or whatever a’tris ultimately is (the soul of the outift?), is solid and good at what it does. It’s tough to put an album out like this and avoid becoming stereotypical or boring, and the band avoids doing that. It just doesn’t seem to live up to the best of what it offers, leaving the listener a mixed bag from which to pick. This is good, but it could be great.
Tags: 30 seconds to mars, Radiohead