When listening to debut albums, many listeners often give the artist a little bit of leeway, chalking up poor production mistakes or quality to, in part, inexperience or naïveté. Atlas Genius needs no such handicap. Their debut record, “When It Was Now,” is a fun, bright collection just in time for summer.
Atlas Genius alternates between two main aesthetics: a ‘60s surf rock vibe and a more modern indie rock energy. No matter which category they identify with more, each track finds a solid foundation in its undeniable catchiness, a theme carried throughout the album. Though not yet a single, my favorite track on the album was the title song, “When It Was Now.” The super danceable and buoyant cut leans more toward the electronic, indie pop side, exuding an energy that challenges the listener not to at least nod along to the beat (it’s impossible).
Lead single “Trojans” has all the makings of a bona fide summer anthem: catchy beat, beachy guitars, a chorus that begs to be sung around a bonfire. While I find the song itself successful, I also find it overly similar to “Symptoms” and “Through The Glass,” other tracks on the album that boast the same driving forces. The resemblance doesn’t lessen the songs’ likability, though it may make them less notable or effective when considered together.
Three bonus tracks reinvent some of the record’s poppier songs, displaying production and thematic versatility without sacrificing their charm or catchiness, a potential I wish had been explored in the record’s main track listing. “Trojans (Lenno Remix)” incorporates much more keyboards than the original, giving it a futuristic, synthpop vibe. “If So (Electric Lady Acoustic)” goes the opposite route and slows the track way down, creating an emotional ballad from indie pop.
Though I wouldn’t call them genius quite yet, “When It Was Now” is a strong first showing from Atlas Genius and a sign of hopefully just as successful things to come.