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Atlas – ‘World In Motion’ EP

posted 28 Aug 2017, 11:48 by Paul Woodward

(Independent)

Review by Woody

I have to say I’m mightily impressed with the debut EP World In Motion from new and upcoming English AOR act Atlas. There’s a super slick production on these songs which really makes Atlas sound like seasoned pro’s as well as obviously making these ultra-smooth soundscapes really make an impact. Obviously as most AOR fans would agree, a slick and smooth production is essential for making songs of this genre really hit home.

Atlas blend old school AOR along the lines of Toto and Journey with prog much like genre crossing favourites Asia and Yes, who to me make the most obvious comparable bands. I feel fans of Asia in particular will be enamoured with Atlas and I’m confident they’ll be impressed. There is a strong pure AOR feel to the songs especially early AOR, it gives the band an edge of commerciality and is obviously accentuated by all of Thorley’s lush and expansive keyboards. The prog element is most noticeable in the song structures and how the songs have an epic and grandiose atmosphere.

It’s quite surprising that a bunch of twenty somethings have such a good hold and understanding on a musical sound which hasn’t been popular for such a long time. But these guys obviously know their Journey from their Asia and are obviously influenced by very early AOR (1978-1984). Young people getting into melodic rock isn’t surprising as it is by rule of thumb radio friendly and commercial albeit unpopular in the world of rock’s industry and media these days. That said though something so genre specific as Atlas have created is that one step into the unusual, but ultimately gratifying for fans as it means there is new and upcoming musicians within the field.

Led by Keyboardist James Thorley it is no surprise that the album is full of lush keyboard soundscapes and intricate keyboard licks and hooks. This is counterbalanced with a driven guitar punch from guitarists Howie Little and John Moss so the songs retain a rock impact and the songs aren’t softened too much from Thorley’s very beautiful and encompassing atmospheric keyboards. The guitar licks and riffs are impressive, although these songs are primarily keyboard driven, they add a harder edge an increase the impact of the songs.

Vocalist Craig Wells provides soaring vocals which at times puts me in mind of fellow British AOR singer Tony Mills, which not only makes me think of SHY but also the now defunct Serpentine which featured guest vocals from Mills. In fact, the more I think about it Atlas do have a lot in common musically with the Serp’s.

World In Motion provides us with a beautiful batch of endearing old school AOR – but my one quibble would be the lack of an obvious radio friendly chorus which I feel will stop the band exploding just yet. I have a really good feeling about these guys and suspect that elusive ‘hit’ is been prepared as I write this, based on this impressive display of musicianship and song writing I have very high expectations for the follow up release from these youngsters.

Track Listing: Change Of Heart / Alexandria / Cross The Line / Lost In The Moment

EP Rating: 8/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Cross The Line

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