The Atom Age – Cry ‘Til You Die review

 

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Many bands are content with treading familiar waters. This sound sells well. This is your sing along. Here’s a slower variant of the songs you heard before. Rinse, repeat, send it to the presses.

Punk rock is no stranger to this formula. Three chords and some lyrics about being a misunderstood outcast and maybe a song about being in love with a girl who’s also a misunderstood outcast can almost guarantee the presence of a kid with a Mohawk chugging Pabst in front of you at your gig. But The Atom Age aren’t your typical punk band, and they definitely don’t give a shit if you want to hear a Ramones cover or not.

Since the release of their first album “Kill Surf City,” each release has seen this band grow and evolve. They went from being a band that would have been easy to write off as a Rocket From The Crypt clone to something much louder, more focused, and far more menacing than what anyone could have imagined of them back in 2009.

Cry ‘Til You Die kicks off with “Love is a Numbers Game,” with an almost Bo Diddley-esque swagger and a reminder we are treading on dangerous ground with this band. We’re then grabbed by the wrists and lead in to “We Disappear in the Night,” with the declaration “I might just see you on the other side//Don’t break your heart, nothing happens when you die.” The entire song plays like an LSD-fueld psychotic breakdown in an old 60’s exploitation horror movie; its wild, it’s unnerving, and you’re half prepared to be grabbed by a hand looming somewhere off-screen around a corner.

“Never Looking” is probably this albums strongest track. Where much of this album is comfortable feeling around for new and different sounds and textures, this track is designed to make you shove someone. Every note and every word of this song drips with frustration, tension, and borderline hostility. If you’re having a bad day, watch the music video and try not to slam your head in to the wall. Play LOUD.

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“Walk Through Walls,” the first single from this album, is by and large the most accessible track on CTYD, but that doesn’t make it weak. Not by a long shot. It’s catchy and comfortable, allowing you some time to catch your breath and tap your foot stage side. I would even go so far as to say this is the closest this band has ever come to writing a Thirteenth Floor Elevators song without taking acid. Roky Erickson would be proud.

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If “Walk Through Walls” was a breather, “Bloodletter” bashes its way in in to kick the wind back out of you. Sharing vocal duties, Peter mixes his howls with Ryan’s yell over noodling organ keys and crushing garage punk. If you wanted “Never Looking” to have more keys but maintain the overall feel, maybe this is what you were looking for.

Closing out the album is the title track, and a chance to reflect upon the experience you’ve just had with this album. Cry ‘Til You Die is 25 minutes of hot, sticky, gooey, refined chaos with only one proper way to listen; at max volume and with others. If you don’t have anyone with you, roll down the windows and make sure others near you can hear it. Scream it at the neighbors, just make sure someone else is included. Be sure to buy these guys a beer the next time they roll through your town, and check the full album out here. Just make sure you have a towel ready, because things are bound to get sticky.

 

 

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