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Atom and His Package: Attention! Blah Blah Blah.Attention! Blah Blah Blah. (2003)
Reviewer Rating: 4.5
Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)
Everyone’s favorite one-man-punk-band is back with more songs about Philly, his friends and politics, plus ditties about octopi and dreams of being a professional gambler.
To fill in those of you who may not know, Atom (Adam Goren) is a guy who writes songs on guitar, keyboards and a drum machine and records them onto a sequencer, the Package. His stuff is very 80’s pop on the surface, but his past as a punk rock guitarist shows through in the occasional speedy punk riffs, frequent punk references (my favorite being a Dead Kennedys reference, cited in the liner notes with “please no suing” next to it), and obscure punk covers, the one on this album being “Lying to You” by Radon. Also taking into account his DIY work ethic, Atom and his Package will always be punk to me, no matter what Maximum Rock n’ Roll thinks.
As for the sound of “Attention! Blah Blah Blah,” there is less of the synth-pop, with the guitars being much heavier this time around. Maybe Atom is less embarrassed of his ability now, but what once was supplemental is now very often front-and-center. Don’t worry, the synth stuff is still there, prevalent in songs like “I’m Downright Amazed at What I can Destroy with Just a Hammer” (also on the recent “Hamburgers” EP), one of my favorite tracks on the album. At first I was a bit disappointed in what seemed like a change in his style, but after each listen, the guitar seems to fill in gaps that were once noticeable in the overall sound of Atom’s songs, so it simply leaves each track more powerful. Also, in the list of Atom’s duties in the booklet, it not only has guitar-er, but also drummer and bass-er. To my knowledge, real drums and bass have never before appeared on an Atom album, but they aren’t that noticeable on this album either; they are very sparse (they seem to be hidden too) amongst the synth-bass and drum machine associated with his sound.
Some great tracks are “Mustache T.V.,” about drawing a mustache on scotch tape and sticking it to the TV to make programming more interesting, “For Aliza, Whenever She May Sleep,” and “The Palestinians are not the Same Thing as the Rebel Alliance, Jackass.” As usual, each song in the booklet is preceded by a little explanation, one of my favorite aspects about Atom’s albums because it really lets you get to know him. The last track of the disc is Matt Werth, the “Undercover Funny” guy from “Redefining Music,” captured on tape doing goofy voices and such.
Another thing worth mentioning: Even though I was already convinced of this when I met him at a show I set up for his tour with Har Mar Superstar a couple years ago, Atom is one of the nicest, most genuine guys around. The song “Does Anyone Else in this Room Want to Marry His or Her Own Grandmother?” is about how he wants to get a place with his Grandma so she isn’t alone, and all the fun stuff they would do including “purple-izing” their house. He’s a good guy, so I love supporting his music.
If you have yet to experience Atom and His Package, I would suggest “A Society of People Named Elihu” or “Redefining Music,” which I feel are his two best. If you like Atom’s previous stuff, there is no reason not to pick up “Attention! Blah Blah Blah.” It is more catchy tunes with a greater guitar punch than his previous work.
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