Atom and His Package - Hair: Debatable (Cover Artwork)

Atom and His Package

Hair: Debatable (2004)


Atom and his package. By now I've probably pissed off half of you, because you hate the guy. A quarter of the remaining readers are probably big fans who will send in piles of hate mail if I give Hair: Debatable anything less than a stellar review, and the rest of you are probably wondering what kind of weird sex joke "atom and his package" refers to, and what kind of music goes along with such a name. Sorry to the majority of the readers, but this review is designed for those who fall into the latter category.

Atom and his package was the musical project of Atom Goren, formerly of the dub-punk band Fracture, in which he would sing songs in his not too unpleasant nasal voice, backed by occasional guitar, and a Yamaha sequencer, his "package." Get it? Now you may have noticed I used the past tense, and that's because, this past August, Atom broke up his one-man band. Hair: Debatable is the live release documenting his last performance. As a live document, this album is a complete failure. Atom…Adam…Atom's voice cracks, he flubs the words sometimes, and will often exceed the speed of the backing music, and because a machine performs most of the music, you cannot expect anything you cant hear (with better production) on his studio albums. In addition to that, the between song banter ranges from occasionally interesting insight into the songs, ("shopping spree intro") to the more common boring ramblings (the album intro). But maybe that's not really the point. What you have hear, with a slightly less than stellar sound quality, is the perfect greatest hits album you could've hoped for from Atom. The listener get everything from the sincere love songs ("Upside Down From Here") to the pointedly political (the lyrically visceral "If You Own The Washington Redskins, You're A Cock," the faux-punk bashing "Anarchy Means I Litter!" ) to the absurd and occasionally hilarious ("Hats off To Halford," Atom's ode to the openly gay Judas Priest singer, "Undercover Funny" about a friend of Atoms who seems to be funny unless he's talking to Atom, and "Mustache TV" about…putting a paper mustache on your TV and having hilarity ensue). Even on the more serious songs you can tell that so much fun is being had on the part of Atom that you can't help but laugh. Or I can. For you, well, consider the following analogy-

The truth is that Atom is comparable to Devo, because both artists present unique, synth-rock-pop-punk songs (Wow; four hyphenated terms in a row. That must be a record!) which don't take themselves too seriously…or…even a bit seriously. If you can imagine yourself bouncing around the room to a guy gleefully singing a song about working out in order to impress the new age singer Enya, then Hair: Debatable may be the perfect starting point for you. If not, then go buy the Muse CD, that's really good too. If you fall into one of the groups I described earlier, then let me appease both of you. As I said, this is really not an effective live document. This is Atom being Atom, and it can either be viewed as the last time you'll ever have to listen to this asshole or a fond farewell to a spectacularly creative songwriter.