The Atoms - Low Brow Hi-Fi (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Atoms

Low Brow Hi-Fi (2021)

ProRawk Records

The Atoms are a punk trio from Derby, England who have been around for almost 20 years. They definitely fell from the Ramones tree. More specifically, they fell from the branch that holds bands like The Queers and The Vandals. They write short, funny, sometimes bitter, sometimes immature songs about everyday life. The Atoms are quite good at this, and if you listen, you’re pretty likely to get a few of these silly songs trapped in your otherwise empty head.

Low Brow Hi-Fi kicks off with the catchy “Steve is a Smackrat” and goes right into the even catchier “I’m Pretty Good (At Fucking Up)”. It’s a really solid one-two punch to start. There are quite a few great songs along the way. “I Hope She Dies” sounds like vintage Queers, as opposed to the more Screeching Weasel like “Stop Stalking My Girlfriend” and “Gonna Have a Stroke”.

“Calling in Sick” pairs well with “Sicko”. “Pre-Teen Coke Fiend” is among the highlights of Low Brow Hi-Fi, with its obvious Ramones reference. “I Don’t Wanna Know” is also obviously in the Ramones wanna/don’t wanna tradition. “She’s a Nerd” and “V-Neck a Go-Go” are good clean fun. The latter even pays brief tribute to Black Sabbath! A cover of The Bellfuries’ “You Must be a Loser” wraps things up.

(We should probably address the elephant in the room. Yes, I do feel like I'm well within my rights as a reviewer to deduct a half a star for the atrocious cover art. I guess The Atoms warned us with the name…)

The key to the success of Low Brow Hi-Fi might just be its brevity. With 15 tracks coming in at just over 22 minutes, the sometimes repetitive songs don’t hang around long enough to get tedious. The Atoms are not particularly well known outside of their native UK, but Low Brow Hi-Fi might just be the record that changes that. These guys should easily find a fan base among classic (‘90s) pop punk aficionados.