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Album Review

ATOM FACTORY
Splitting Atoms...

While I am hesitant to say there is a bit of the early Hall & Oates in Atom Factory's music, and I'm talking not the hits but the much less pretentious and more melodic Abandoned Luncheonette period (pre-makeup), I have to say it. There is just a touch of the white soul here that made AL the real Hall & Oates classic, the one people who love music and not just the hits embrace. It is just a touch, mind you. These guys do not really sound like Hall & Oates, but they do capture the feel.

Matthew Lee, culprit in charge, is mostly responsible. He wrote the songs. He sings lead. He is the sound. That sound wraps arrangement around melody like bun around dog with the condiments very tasty insertions of keyboard, guitar and voice in just the right amounts. Very tasty, indeed. From first track to last (there are seven here), you ride the Pop Machine Supreme (Soft Rock Supremo), recorded, mixed and engineered to perfection. This is good, but as important, it sounds good. Again, Matthew Lee, this time with the help of Scott Greiner and Alan Wonneberger.

I would go into more detail but truth be told, Atom Factory has me by the 'nads and they won't let go. I'm on my tenth straight listen to New Sunshine, see no end in sight and it's a gas. It used to happen to me regularly back in the days of AM radio when tracks like The Beatles' Rain and Status Quo's Pictures of Matchstick Men and The Small Faces' Itchykoo Park would drag me down to the record store to buy the single and wear it through to the other side with incessant plays. I thought maybe those days were gone, but then Atom Factory planted that old viral infection in my head and here I go again. I can't even tell you why. There is something so familiar and earcatching about New Sunshine---the way it is performed and recorded, laid back with that truckin' beat--- it's exhilarating. Nothing fancy, but that is sometimes a plus. Occasionally, it's the sleeper that makes the album.

It is the blend, I think. The chorus, with it's “new sunshi-yi-yi-yine” with voices melted into the background. The stacking of voice and guitar and keyboards. I took the liberty of scoping out Sweet Talk Radio, the duo responsible for the backing vocals, to hear what they brought to the session and while they brought plenty, they took their supporting role seriously, making their voices the very fabric of sound. When you hear the music and don't think 'who is that?', the job has been done right.

Know what? Us guys are screwing up all the time, especially with the ladies. Next time you bite the big one, it might behoove you to grab a dozen roses and a copy of Atom Factory in the way of apology. You won't even have to say anything. Let the roses and the music say it for you. It's safer that way, anyway, and she'll love you for it. Of course, be expecting to hear a lot of Atom Factory. Lucky for you, it goes down easy. Very easy.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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