BY: MICHELLE PEREZ-VEGA
Atlas is one of those bands that you really hope makes it big.
Based in Manchester, UK, the quartet offers their debut EP, World In Motion, a four-song compilation that strongly shows the promise of this young band.
Atlas describes itself as a guitar/keyboard-driven melodic rock band that combines elements of rock, pop, progressive rock, and jazz. Normally that’s a lot for any band to take on; hinting that the members might not have found a comfortable nor identifiable musical niche. Atlas, however, surprisingly pulls it off with amazing results.
“Change of Heart” best demonstrates this and shows the individual talents that make Atlas such a cohesive and proficient unit. Kicking off with a progressive-like intro from Keyboardist/Percussionist James Thorley, guitars soon follow with edgy and chugging riffs, thanks to the intricate guitar work courtesy of Howie Little and John Moss. Vocalist Craig Wells shows off some impressive vocals here as well, stretching his distinctive pipes into various directions. You want Progressive Rock? He can do it. You want Metal? He can inject it. You want Rock? He’ll give you that as well. Add the rock-solid rhythms of Bassist Christian Redfearn throughout and you have the best that Atlas has to offer.
With “Alexandria,” Atlas chose to start off in a pop direction before turning the piece into a more art-rock offering. There are many changes in this song, but they are functional within the framework of these complex arrangements. From experience, any song that is titled after a girl usually brings thoughts of the insipid sappiness to come. There is, however, something likeable about this emotional tune, perhaps the simple honesty of the lyrics and the delicate and melodic guitars that makes it bearable.
“Cross the Line” comes complete with straight rock chords and a soaring guitar solos while “Lost in the Moment” ends the EP strongly as it was started, with relentless riffs and tempo shifts. Again, Wells’ voice soars high and beyond, and the talents of all musicians, especially that of Thorley, truly show the promise of what Atlas is and has to offer.
The overall production of World In Motion is excellent. Each and every note is precisely captured without overwhelming histrionics. It is definitely an honest and essential debut from an honest and essential band that is Atlas.