Amazing Transparent Man - Print Is Dead (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Amazing Transparent Man

Print Is Dead (2004)

Double Zero

I've lost touch with this band a little over the years, and it seems they have really shaped up into great hook writers and solid musicians. My band had played with the De Kalb, Illinois natives a couple times years ago, and the recordings of theirs I had were The Measure of All Things from 2000, and Taking Back the Covers from 2003, but recorded in 2001. I had never gotten Death of the Party so basically it was like I had not heard the band since 2001. They sure have improved since then, to say the least. I liked the guys a lot before- they are super nice and funny- but they had some tightness issues with the music and some on-key issues with the vocals. But with Print is Dead, ATM have cleaned up nicely. But it all seems in vain with their recent breakup, which is especially sad since they have been around since 1997. They were not another flash-in-the-pan band, and, like them or not, they worked hard for the success they achieved.

If you did not know this band, they have a sound probably closest to Blink-182 (Dude Ranch – Enema era more specifically), and are also compared to The Ataris and Chixdigit. Rick and Tony shared the spotlight quite well, switching between guitar and bass also sharing lead vocals. Brad played the drums early on and Chris in the past couple years. They became known for their stage antics including donning matching outfits of wife-beaters and (often pink) shorts, and also for their friendliness. Anyway, onto their current album, which has become their "swan song".

The album starts off strong with "International Gamers Committee (IGC)" which has the patented ATM goofy lyrics referencing everything from board games like Battleship, video game Super Mario Bros and school yard games like hide and seek and "red light green light", all in reference to a relationship. Lyrics like "You've been playing Clue right from the start / And it's me up in your bedroom / The weapon is your heart" seem silly but pack such a killer hook you will be singing them and loving them.

The middle three songs make this album. Track 4 "Since When Did Everyone in a Band Become Such a Hair Farmer" was disappointing as far as funny lyrics go, but succeeds as a catchy song, with "na na na's" used quite well. Track 5 "If I Could Only Breathe Underwater" is a serious song about loneliness that still throws in some good humor with the line "People say that sadness sells / Well if that's true / than my mind should've gone triple platinum by now". And track 6 "The Thought Police" is just damn toe-tappin' catchy. Another great track is "Shove" near the end of the album, starting with a Guns N' Roses style lead guitar riff, and later replacing the typical love song line "I need somebody to love" with "I need somebody to shove me".

In addition to a good batch of pop-punk ditties, the album also sounds way better than any other ATM release I've heard. It has tight musicianship and is well-produced but not over-produced. Even though it is not their silliest, it may be their most solid bunch of songs, and definitely the one a new post-mortem fan would want to choose. So long, ATM, good luck with your future endeavors.