Atom Strange: The Lost Cosmonauts

Hailing from New York City, Atom Strange are a great example of a band that I feel are not quite in touch with themselves. The band have just released their first full-length album entitled The Lost Cosmonauts (they had released the singles “Atom Strange” and “Cosmic Disturbance” prior to the release).

The album builds up with an atmospheric intro track and then explodes into “Space Man,” their lead, anthemic FM radio single. Next is “Looking Glass (Childhood’s End),” which also sounds like a modern FM radio single (It actually sounds like they’re ripping of Mötley Crüe for the majority of the song).  “Tragedy” follows suit and “Neverwas” is the first FM radio ballad on the album. “Believe in Nothing” brings the album back to speed. From “I’m Alive” until “The End” end of the record, the band go on a major tangent and get lost in space (But don’t worry, the final track, “Reach Out” takes it all back into the spirit of the beginning of the album).

The problem with I have with what I just wrote is that when you really listen to the album, it sounds like two different EPs back to back. When I first got the album, the immediate genre for them was ‘prog’ and when you look on their Facebook page, the band label themselves as ‘rock, hard rock, alternative, progressive, and psychedelic.’ After listening to the album, I couldn’t find any musical instances that suggested they were alternative to me. I also didn’t hear any psychedelic examples on the record . I can see why they want to label themselves as progressive, but I don’t really think that that’s an accurate description either. The first half is very FM radio friendly and to be honest, those songs aren’t that bad. I’m not a huge fan of those songs, but i think they could be really popular if given that exposure. I just can;t help but feel like I’m listening to an aspiring progressive band that have to justify playing half-assed progressive music with six FM radio tracks and 6 tracks of them trying to be progressive.

This is what I mean about a band not quite knowing themselves. When you’re in a band, you obviously want to think that what you’re doing is really good and dipping into various musical pools because you listen to all these different types of music. This is a very similar situation to my own band, Crisscross Albatross. We have a load of songs that sound like the direction in which we’d like to go, but all the songs that are available for people to listen to don’t properly illustrate the genre we’d like to be. So that’s why I think it is so important, and honestly it’s not always east for a band to be able to step back and be honest with their sound. The most important thing when being in a band is to be honest with themselves because then and only then can they truly be great within their own right and then I believe there are no limits for what a band can do.

Luke Helker

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