White Light Riot - Atomism
Record Label: 50 Records
Release Date: August 21, 2007
Recently this website posed the question of whether America or Britain had produced the better music of the past 20 years of so. But is it really that simple? Instead I pose the question: Which nation has had a greater influence on the other? The influences that both have had on the other or abundant, and can be found almost anywhere. Even in places as far from each other as Britain and Minneapolis, the influence of the two aforementioned music nations can be found.
Take for example Minneapolis' White Light Riot. A band that borrows from bands like Blur, as well as American punk bands such as Green Day, or Weezer. Both of these elements blend flawlessly to form the geographical smoothie that is Atomism, their debut full length.
Atomism is nothing but fun. Nearly every track is up-tempo and full of guitar solos, hard hitting drums, and the occasional well placed horn section (see "The Grey Divide"). Both "Charlatan" and the title-track "Atomism" could just as easily be on the next Jeep commercial, as well as played in such a vehicle with the windows down. Some almost tribal-style drums, well placed guitar solos, and a jazzy trumpet give lift to the fantastic "Dive," and make it a stand out track.
Each track brings a new feeling and edge to the album and build upon one another. The only misstep really comes on "Midway Souvenirs", and is the low point on the album. But it doesn't last, as "Tourniquet" quickly snaps back to that winning formula of punk and brit-pop rock.
Singer Mike Shwandt showcases some very impressive pipes throughout the album, and has the ability to truly drive a song amid some impressive instrumentation. Moments like the the breakdown of "Grey Divide" show how talented the band is, as the horns truly kill.
Atomism is a conglomeration of things. It's fun, it's catchy, it's British, it's American. In truth, the Blur or Kooks comparisons are most likely the most accurate but there is no denying the wide array of elements that make of this album. Not that anyone should really care when the final product sounds like this. Whatever the influence, White Light Riot have succeeded in making a very catchy, and fun album.