Fun With Atoms - Smart
2010, Blurb Records
Green Bay, Wisconsin's Fun With Atoms bring their edgy Americana pop sound wherever they go. Inspired by their mid-western, working class roots, Fun With Atoms inject a pop sensibility into everything they touch. Rick Smith (vox/guitars/keys); Dan Collins (vox/bass/keys) and Curt Lefevre (drums/percussion/vox) have crafted a sound that takes in a wealth of influences but matures as a sound that doesn't really sound like anyone. There third album, Smart, captures the energy and angst have gained Fun With Atoms so much attention from their first two efforts.
Smart opens with "Walking The Razor's Edge", an Americana country/rock blend that is reminiscent of Blue Rodeo or Wilco with a Gin Blossoms chaser. It's a catchy tune about the dangers of falling in love when your life keeps you on the road. The lead vocals are serviceable, but sound better in the context of the vocal harmonies offered here. "Really Happy" evokes Peter Case with a catchy, distinctive pop feel. The chorus is highly memorable and the song is well-paced throughout. It's a bit light in the lyrics department; more of a stream of conscious style than anything else, but solidly entertaining. Things slow down significantly mid-album, but Fun With Atoms recovers in time to deliver some jangly country/rock on "Mystery". This time it's as if the Gin Blossoms and The Beatles are battling it out, and for a change the bridge makes the song. "Ringing In My Ears" sounds a bit more like garage Americana, as if the Skydiggers seriously electrified their sound. It's entertaining, but serves as a sort of last gasp for Fun With Atoms and Smart.
Smart starts well, but Fun With Atoms seem to have had a hard time compiling enough material for a full length album. The filler here, while not bad, doesn't measure up to the four or so songs that really make Smart worth checking out. A four or five song EP may have been a wiser move, but Fun With Atoms show definite potential on Smart.
Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Fun With Atoms at www.funwithatoms.com or www.myspace.com/funwithatoms. Smart is available digitally from Amazon.com and iTunes.