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The Ataris - Welcome the Night (Cover Artwork)

The Ataris

The Ataris: Welcome the NightWelcome the Night (2007)
Sanctuary Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: AubinAubin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I met Kris Roe a number of years ago when his then-fledgling band was opening for Frenzal Rhomb and Chixdiggit. Kris was a chubby and enthusiastic frontman of a band that looked, at best, hastily assembled. The members certainly didn't have the polished coordination and style that is so prevalent no.
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I met Kris Roe a number of years ago when his then-fledgling band was opening for Frenzal Rhomb and Chixdiggit. Kris was a chubby and enthusiastic frontman of a band that looked, at best, hastily assembled. The members certainly didn't have the polished coordination and style that is so prevalent now. However, even then, you could see a capable songwriter, with great influences and a voice designed to be blared out of teenage girls' bedrooms. I spoke to Kris after his set, mainly interested in the Jawbreaker stickers adorning his amplifier, and we talked about music for some time with him convincing me to buy Built to Spill's Keep It Like a Secret and both of us disagreeing about which Jawbreaker album was best (I still say it's 24 Hour Revenge Therapy).

Flash-forward a few years, and the band had made the leap to a major label, sent Kris to a trainer and polished up their image as well as their sound. The album largely escaped my notice at first, but soon enough, his earnest albeit dramatic cover of "Boys of Summer" was everywhere and the Ataris had hit it big. That could have been the start of a successful major label career, but apparently, unhappy with the arrangement of delivering a few single-worthy songs on an album, the band had a sharp break with their label and went off to very different pastures at Sanctuary.

With this new album, the band enlisted a half-dozen new members and the group decided to take the same road as fellow pop-punks-turned-rockers Brand New. Like Lacey and Co., they deliver an album full of `90s retro alternative rock, almost completely different from their prior music. While their best album, Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits was what Dear You would have sounded like if Blake had been concerned with listening to his label, this new album is about as far from Jawbreaker -- and the Ataris -- as the band could get.

This album, does, as Kris promised, channel Swervedriver, as well as Catherine Wheel, with the prerequisite intense, epic-sounding choruses and crashing guitar lines. Other tracks, like "Cardiff-by-the-Sea" and "Secret Handshakes" find the band dialing things down for the now-standard post-Pearl Jam ballad-type songs, that is to say, while nowhere near as awful as the metal power ballad of the `80s, seems awfully calculated to appeal to the just-dumped, the just-fired and the just-tired.

Other songs, like "Not Capable of Love," are more of a relief from these types of tracks, with the band remembering that they are, after all, a rock band. The band takes on the Hüsker Dü-styled wall-of-sound with harmonized guitars and vocals that peak just about the fray. It works extremely well, and, like "Whatever Lies Will Help You Rest," shows where the re-birthed Ataris could -- with increased confidence -- eventually end up.

While not a failure by any measure, the biggest trouble with Welcome the Night is that it is unsure of what it wants to be. Is it a throwback to all the punk-but-not-punk bands that influenced Kris or is it a commercial record, with crowd-pleasing anthems and the universal but clichéd themes of mainstream "emotional" rock?

What you have with this album is a new sound, but not a wealth of new ideas; it's might not have a lasting appeal with people who remember music from the `90s, because it has to compete with the time and place. For younger fans however, Welcome the Night is unfamiliar and fresh and may just wring some of those same feelings out of them.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
TimFan (April 9, 2007)

"Actually, you'd eat your words pretty fucking fast if you saw his girlfriend. She's cute.
Because we all know that the only thing worth having is good-looking arm candy"

yeah, man- I saw him play at Rutgers in Jersey like last year- that blonde chick was pretty fucking hott. But i think hes downgraded to some short gal who resembles the lead singer of My Chemical Romance... whats up with that??

Anonymous (March 3, 2007)

So... we have an entry for worst album of 2007 already? Good job Ataris.

allbutone (March 1, 2007)

And honestly, if you listen to songs like "The hero dies in this one" and "unopened letter to the world" or "fast times at dropout high", this album is not that much of a stretch. You can definately see how they might have taken this new direction with this album.

allbutone (March 1, 2007)

The breakdown on the last song of this album sounds exactly like the breakdown on the Bad Astronaut song "Our Greatest Year" I mean, exactly.

Scruffy (March 1, 2007)

"The only Ataris album I own is "End Is Forever", and it sucks."

Find a copy of Blue Skies, the Fat EP, or even So Long, Astoria. In retrosect, IO think End Is Forever is their worst album.

Anonymous (March 1, 2007)

its sad that you have nothing better to do at 10 in the morning than to count 1,052 cds

Anonymous (March 1, 2007)

The only Ataris album I own is "End Is Forever", and it sucks.

I also just counted my CDs, and (excluding compilations, and a few I most likely forgot), I have 1,052 albums.

Fuckin'. Tits!

Score's for me.

kjb83 (March 1, 2007)

"the Atataris are gayer than a fag"

quite possibly the best and worst comment ever.

Anonymous (March 1, 2007)

liek OMG i luv the ataris and want to suck off kris roe....

omg

BSD

Anonymous (March 1, 2007)

i loved the ataris back then just like alot of people here, but i'm disappointed. i tried listening to this album with an open mind, but i cant get into it. if i downloaded/bought this album under a name i didnt know, i'd think it's complete trash and i'd never listen to it again. but its the ataris and i wnat to give it a chance. the ataris changed. and so have i, but to me i'd still consider ataris pop punk. which is why i 'll probalby go to their shows, but wont listen to any of their new stuff they('ll) put out.

Anonymous (February 28, 2007)

they are still playing oldies.

when I saw them in philly they played 4 songs from End is Forever, 3 from Astoria, and 2 from Blue Skies.

the similarities between welcome the night and end is forever are really astonishing. I didn't pick up on them until I saw them live and heard the new songs stripped down. coming off of astoria, welcome the night may not make that much sense. but if you look at it as the next step from end is forever, you might understand them a bit more.

Anchors (February 28, 2007)

I'm not even going to read through the comments on this page, for fear that my head will explode from idiocy, so I'll just say this:

Disappointed.

I've been a huge, huge, huge Ataris fan for like six years now, and was even kind of excited to see how this new direction turned out, but I'm left feeling... nothing. It's not bad per se, just complete background music.

Maybe, I hope it'll grow on me, but I'm not digging it right now.

Anonymous (February 28, 2007)

they done better, they have also done worse.

Anonymous (February 28, 2007)

20 bucks says he is right though, I mean c'mon, the Atataris are gayer than a fag, and pop punk sucks the bean bag

kjb83 (February 28, 2007)

ten bucks says that the person who posted the last 2 comments didn't even listen to the whole album.

Anonymous (February 28, 2007)

pop punk SUCKS!!!!

Anonymous (February 28, 2007)

If you like gay music, this is right up your alley

Scruffy (February 28, 2007)

"Actually, you'd eat your words pretty fucking fast if you saw his girlfriend.

if shes so fucking cute, why the hell is he still singing songs about all the fat ones that dumped him?"

Is he? Have you read the lyrics to this or So Long, Astoria? Almost none of them on SL,A and those that I can tell on this are about girls. They're about growing up, getting old and figuring out who you are and how it relates to who you were.

R3venge_Therapy (February 28, 2007)

Actually, you'd eat your words pretty fucking fast if you saw his girlfriend. She's cute.

Because we all know that the only thing worth having is good-looking arm candy


That wasn't my point, but fuck yeah BRO that's all that life is about DUDE, gettin' DRUNK and securing your future TROPHY WIFE who'll be your slave. FUCK YEAH.

Anywho, the point was, people making comments about Kris Roe being sad about fat girls dumping him are the people who can't even get a fat girl to go out with them.

Anonymous (February 28, 2007)

he bashed the original rhythm section pretty well in that punkbands interview.

Barkley

wyzo (February 28, 2007)

a copy of this has been floating around the interwebs for long as hell, it seems like a dud.

wyzo

Anonymous (February 28, 2007)

i referenced this early on

"this sounds like if ignorance is bliss was 100 times worse"

Anonymous (February 28, 2007)

Actually, you'd eat your words pretty fucking fast if you saw his girlfriend.

if shes so fucking cute, why the hell is he still singing songs about all the fat ones that dumped him?

Holy_Balls (February 27, 2007)

Kris Roe has a comb over.

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

i agree...after giving this a shot more than once, i'm not impressed. that being said, "heart attack american" by the Bronx just came raging through my earphones and want to start smashing up my apartment.
-TOBB

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

ignorance is bliss is 100 times better than this crap

Cos (February 27, 2007)

Actually, you'd eat your words pretty fucking fast if you saw his girlfriend. She's cute.

Because we all know that the only thing worth having is good-looking arm candy

boba_fett (February 27, 2007)

the ataris are kinda like saves the day: its not the same band anymore. the only person who stayed the same was the singer.

i generally figure its better to change you name if thats the case, otherwise its just you trying to cash in on your past success.

JKyle (February 27, 2007)

Kris should've just started a new band. This isn't The Ataris.

Score is for the album, which is mediocre and not getting any better with consecutive listens, and also for the review, for comparing this drivel to 90's alt-rock. Boo.

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

catherhine and swervedriver this is not, no no no no, not at all

it doesn't really even sound like he is ripping them off either

Barkley

swank (February 27, 2007)

MikeStupid - that was awesome.

This is a weird review to read because I met and talked to Kris at exactly the same show. He ended up straight up giving me a copy of "Blue Skies" and it went on to be one of my favorite records growing up.

But, I dunno, Kris is a good guy but I think "The Ataris" (if you can even really callthem that anymore, I mean c'mon) has gone off on far too many whims for them to expect any more than only the most die hard fans to stick by them.

I liked their pop-punk, I don't much care for them immitating The Killers.

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

Score is for this record. How come nobody has mentioned Face to Face "Ignorance is Bliss" when speaking of this album. If you guys go back and listen to the mostly unheard of Face to Face album, you'll hear alot of similarities.

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

thank god they aren't doing pop punk anymore. it was time for them to grow.

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

score is for the Catherine wheel reference-oldpunker-

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

this will be the first ataris album i dont buy

kjb83 (February 27, 2007)

"This is not the Ataris, so stop calling them that."

Actually this IS the Ataris.....hence the name on the front of the CD. Also, it's not like they went from "Blue Skies" straight to this...they had somewhat of a progression toward this sound. Would it have been smarter to change the name? Probably, yes. But, that's Roe's decision. Finally, I doubt he's stupid enough to JUST play new stuff live as I'm sure he knows most of his fans enjoy "Blue Skies" the best.

maverick (February 27, 2007)

The score Aubin gave this really doesn't match the tone of the review. It reads like a 5; a 6 at best.

This record is what happens when an entertainer tries to be an artist.

-Scott

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

If you change everyone in your lineup, change your sound drastically, add a cello, and will probably not play anything off of the old albums live...wouldn't that warrant a band name change as well? If I come to an Ataris show, I would expect to hear stuff like San Dimas High School Football Rules, not the lame boring dullness of this record. This is not the Ataris, so stop calling them that.

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

Roe is a wannabe songwriter, unable to compose other things than a pop ballad about a fat girl who dumped him.

Jimmy


Actually, you'd eat your words pretty fucking fast if you saw his girlfriend. She's cute. And Kris is a really nice guy. I wouldn't say he's a wannabe songwriter, because he has written some good stuff (more than you, I'm willing to bet).

Anyway. Did anyone listen to the ORIGINAL version of this record that leaked like a year ago? That shit was godawful. I was in horror. He was singing like a moron and it was soooooooooo slooooooooooooow and unbelievably boring. The songs I've heard from this record sound completely different than that leaked one. I'm willing to check this out.

-r3venge therapy

kjb83 (February 27, 2007)

I meant to type NAMELY, not names.

kjb83 (February 27, 2007)

"So, change the vocals, strings, keys and guitars and it's the same?"

No, I said change the production on the vocals, take out the strings/keys, and change the guitars in the verses and it sounds SIMILAR to So Long, Astoria. And, like I said before, this is only for 4 or 5 songs, names Not Capable of Love, New Year's Day, Cheyenne Line, and Whatever Lies Help You Rest.

inagreendase (February 27, 2007)

writing "Jawbreaker" next to "Kris roe" or "Ataris" is probably the biggest blaspheme in the world

Welcome to ten years ago.

Scruffy (February 27, 2007)

"writing "Jawbreaker" next to "Kris roe" or "Ataris" is probably the biggest blaspheme in the world"

The Ataris name-dropping Jawbreaker all the way back in 1999/2000 is what made me start listening to Jawbreaker. So, at least I'm thankful to him for that.

"And I'm a little surprised that Kris Roe likes Built To Spill"

The Ataris also namedropped Built To Spill in that same song.

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

I still think this isn't THAT much of a stretch from their previous album. Obviously it's different, but (for 4 or 5 songs at least) if you change the production on the vocals, take out the strings/keys during the choruses, and change the guitars in the verses to generic palm-muted distortion, they would sound very similar to So Long, Astoria.

So, change the vocals, strings, keys and guitars and it's the same?

misterspike (February 27, 2007)

"... and both of us disagreeing about which Jawbreaker album was best (I still say it??s 24 Hour Revenge Therapy). "

(In best Mortal Kombat voice):

Aubin .... Wins ....

SuperRad (February 27, 2007)

So, that Jimmy kids a real asshole.

baseball (February 27, 2007)

Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 12:13 AM (EST)

I wish kris was fat again


speaking of, Look Forward To Failure was always my favorite Ataris release....very fun

kjb83 (February 27, 2007)

I still think this isn't THAT much of a stretch from their previous album. Obviously it's different, but (for 4 or 5 songs at least) if you change the production on the vocals, take out the strings/keys during the choruses, and change the guitars in the verses to generic palm-muted distortion, they would sound very similar to So Long, Astoria.

drdeath (February 27, 2007)

i got this on Saturday. I wish i owned an incinerator.

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

this is a solid album; great review

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

writing "Jawbreaker" next to "Kris roe" or "Ataris" is probably the biggest blaspheme in the world...the best band ever created near the worst piece of crap. Roe is a wannabe songwriter, unable to compose other things than a pop ballad about a fat girl who dumped him. His only interesting side is that he worked with Derrick Plourde (who hated him) and using one of Blake's amplifier...wow ! what a great guy ! Kris : you and your band suck, you can try to hide your balding head as much as you want, you will stil stay a cheap songwriter and musician.

Jimmy

youwinalemon (February 27, 2007)

24 Hour Revenge Therapy is the best Jawbreaker album. No contest.

And I'm a little surprised that Kris Roe likes Built To Spill. I suppose I really shouldn't be, but I am.

Hasheesh (February 27, 2007)

One quick correction, though: John Collura did join the group sometime after End is Forever and recorded on So Long Astoria, so technically they only have five new members.

(there is something odd about typing out "only have FIVE new members", haha)

Hasheesh (February 27, 2007)

Man, I'm glad to see a good review for this. I really enjoyed this album when it leaked a year ago or whenever that was, and while I think this revised tracklisting is slightly lesser than its predecessor, I still think it's very good and was bummed out to see so many reviews basically shitting on this.

SuperRad (February 27, 2007)

I have some high hopes for this.

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

this sounds like if ignorance is bliss was 100 times worse

almostpunkenough (February 27, 2007)

haven't heard any of this, but why do i have s inking feeling that it's no 'Blue Skies...'?

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

this album is fantastic and one of the biggest suprises i've heard from a band in a long time.

Anonymous (February 27, 2007)

I wish kris was fat again

kingofsuck (February 27, 2007)

I heard a few of these songs at a small acoustic set in 2005, and they didn't sound bad then. But for some reason I don't really feel a desire to check this out.

Scruffy (February 27, 2007)

I talked with Kris Roe after a show my band played with him and the Ataris' guitarist when they did that two-man acoustic tour. He is a great guy, and is still the kid at heart, geeking out about his favorite music that he has always been.
Also, from what I've listened to of this album, it's so much better than I feared it'd be after hearing the description of the new style. But it's rad.

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