Atlas&i are celebrating the release of their debut album, “In Desolate Times”, through Small Town Records. The 6-piece melodic rock band hail from Norwich have created a blend of rock, pop and metal, mixed it all up with a dash of emo, ending up with their own sound lead by vocalist Matt Snelling. In the short time that Atlas&i have been together they have already shared the stage with bands such as Deaf Havana, Paige and Adelaide; with a tour also about to commence alongside Elliot Minor.
The album “In Desolate Times” kicks off with an atmospheric instrumental track, ‘Te’Lamon’ creating an instant impression. The haunting guitars and keyboards paint a vivid picture of melancholy but with an underlying hope… leading straight into track 2, ‘We’ll Never Sea Alaska’. Instantly, Matt Snelling’s vocals come to the fore, a seriously strong and powerful voice carries the emotion of the track, ably backed up by the guitars of Robbie Hubbard and Jarrod Brown. The keys of Josh Cooper add to the atmosphere of the track, the bass of Ben Piper rising through the cacophony, giving it depth and the drums of Christian Kett bringing it all into balance. The track itself starts off at a frenetic pace that continues through almost until the end where it slow fades into nothing.
The opening bars of ‘This Won’t Mean A Thing, Love’ have a Thrice feel to them as they continue with the emotional journey, carried through Snelling’s vocals. The twin guitars add the depth and atmosphere with their melodic riffs, the sing-along gang chants add to the emotion. The melodic bridge too has a Thrice-esque quality about it. For ‘So I Declare Transparency’, the tempo slows right down; the passion is still very much evident in the vocals and the guitars again create a huge melancholic soundscape that grows as the song develops.
‘Prometheus’ drops things to a whole new level, the pace is much slower, the vocals, whilst still full of emotion, are less intense which is exaggerated by the keyboards behind them. That is, until the rest of the band kicks in… but as soon as they do the track slowly fades out, leaving you wanting a little bit more! ‘The Great Divide’ follows the formula set out in previous tracks, expansive guitars and keys creating the atmospheric backdrop for the passionate vocals with the back line driving them all through it. The chorus and the melodic bridge towards the end, however, makes this track just a little different and you’ll quickly find yourself singing along with them.
‘Away Beneath The Skyline’ highlights just how good Matt Snelling’s vocals really are, the introduction with him singing over a piano is the perfect illustration. The atmosphere is created again as the rest of the band join in, but this time the melancholic feel is disappearing replaced by hopefulness and maybe a touch of anger! ‘Guess I’ll Just Keep Saving Myself’ closes out the record bringing back the tempo with it. A return to a rock feel, there is more than a hint of Alexisonfire about this track, not just in the music but in the vocals too.
“In Desolate Times” is a great debut record and Atlas&i have shown huge potential in the short time they have been together. There is a ‘but’ and that is that a few of the songs sound very similar to each other and as such tend to lose a little impact. However, this shouldn’t put you off checking the album out as there are also some real gems on there too!