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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Atomic Boy - Sonic Cocktail

Band: Atomic Boy
Album: Sonic Cocktail
Year: 1995
Style: Radio Friendly Pop-Punk
Similar Bands: Social Distortion, Sugar, Blink-182, Tripping Daisy
"One Word" Review: Puppydog-punk
Based Out Of: So-Cal
Label: Victory Music, A&M

Sonic Cocktail Cover

Sonic Cocktail Inside Cover


Sonic Cocktail Inside

Sonic Cocktail CD & Back

Sonic Cocktail (1995)

  1. Change Is Gonna Come - 2.45
  2. Social Misfits - 3.02
  3. Don't Want To Be Like You - 2.47
  4. I Need Glue, I Need You - 2.46
  5. Debutante - 2.31
  6. Marmalade Fashion Disaster - 2.52
  7. Dreamworld - 2.45
  8. Tangled Up In You - 3.38
  9. We Want A Revolution - 3.13
  10. Time Bomb - 3.03
  11. In Your Face - 4.21
Album Rating (1-10):
6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Strangler - Guitar
Justin Time - Bass
Chip Hanna - Drums
Andrew K - Guitar
Denny Lake - Vocals (U.S. Crush, Kickball)
Barret Jones - Producer & Engineer
Scott Hackwith - Producer
Liz Magro - 2nd Engineer
Karl Kristkeitz - Art Direction
Kevin Pawlak - Cover Illustration
Arlan Helm - Photography
Sean Renet - Management
Martin Glauser - A&R
Phil Carson - Exec. Producer
Alan Yoshida - Mastering

Unknown-ness: I had never heard of these guys. The cartoon imagery, words, and fonts on the cover promise Juvenile energy and action. Most likely this will be an album full of poppy punk rock. This was a CD chosen to complete a 3-4-$8 deal at Siren Records in Doylestown. Perhaps I went the distance and listened to it before I bought it, but I cannot remember.

Album Review: Right of, the energy is an explosion to the speakers. A gruff pseudo-brit accent blasts from the speakers, shouting. The song is typical pop-punk, complete with a perfectly placed musical break via a slide down the guitar's neck. The singer, nearly emo, gets so angry that he pushes himself to a scream as it builds to the chorus. You can just picture the veins pulse out in his neck as he strains to reach the intensity required. More melodic, "Social Misfits" has a more complex musical structure: with harmonized vocals behind the lead in the chorus, and a nice breakdown that leads into the last verse, and a quick fade-out of the last fuzzy chord. This and all songs exemplify that paradoxical pop-punk existence: angry loud punk song, that comes off as non-threatening as a smiley-face superball. "Don't wanna be like you" is lead by rhythm guitar, where the loud lead guitar takes a back seat to three chord song movement. It is a good song though, with the chorus echoed back to the singer in the final climactic ending. I Need Glue, I Need Glue, begins a little harder than rest of the album. The structure is driving, head banging verse followed by a slow breakdown. Repeat. Debutant touches the darkness of Ozzy-Metal, but quickly withholds its soul from the devil with a short, pop-punk harmonic chorus. Marmalade is an anthemic rock song, leaving the label of punk to the rest of the album. It is a bold try at combining psycheadelia with punk, chanting "Free Your Head," but it just comes off as radio-friendly rock.

Heavy four chord rock is the theme for Dreamworld. It displays lead guitar work similar to Social Distortion, but the mix of it puts the volume even with the rest, that it feels muffled. "Tangled Up In You" is a little slower paced, a little dreamy lyrically, and all around, just "pleasant". It sounds more like "alternative" music of the time, and perhaps earlier than radio-punk or straight rock. Straight-forward pop-punk is illustrated with "We Want A Revolution." All the elements are there, the bouncy, bass line, the angry angst-fueled theme, chorus of repetitive lyric shouts in the background, a guitar lead instrumental, and an over all catchy theme. Ooh, and an angry curse of "Get the F- Out of my way." But still, not even as threatening as a salamander. Time Bomb sounds like a Sugar song, sung with Bob Mould on a little dose of helium. It is heavy on rhythm guitar and drums, again, pushing the lead guitar to the background. The album ends with the longest track: "In Your Face" It begins with an angry, choppy, shouting of the title, which briefly repeats back in the chorus. A Social Distortion guitar comes in the bridge, and we are returned to the pseudo angry British accent, shout chanting the verse, getting angrier as the song moves along, into a grand finale display of music drawing out the last note and clashing together as the band presumably leaves the stage.

Overall, we have a strong radio acceptable pop-punk album that wants to take many influences in and display them, but is incomplete in what direction to go. The anger in the voice, as fake as it seems, at least sounds good. And the little pop elements make the album hooks enjoyable. If you're in the market for a non-threatening album with a facade of an attitude, then here you go, enjoy. But there is nothing really special that stands out to make this album memorable.

Stand Out Track:
We Want a Revolution

Links:Atomic Boy Review
US Crush Bio w/ Atomic Boy intro
Atomic Boy Allmusic (little info)
Atomic Boy's 2-song EP

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