Atari Teenage Riot – Is This Hyperreal? album review

I’m sure, somewhere, there is someone who never developed beyond the immature punk ethos of an 8th grader who will absolutely adore every element of Atari Teenage Riot’s newest album Is This Hyperreal. For the rest of us though, we are left to dig deep for redeeming elements.

While their electronica elements are occasionally quite interesting, they’re generally annoying. While there are some groups out there who actually take toys, modify them and use the results in their music (such as Crystal Castles) ATR sounds like they just take the toys, throw them against the wall a few times and use those sounds. The drums also sound like they came from keyboards that they found at second hand stores and simply used the preset sounds.  However, the music is not the worst part, and might even be redeemable if not for the hideousness of the lyrics.

Aside from the fact that they use the same overdrive distortion affect on every single vocal part, what the effect is being used on is absolute garbage.  They spend the majority of the album posturing an “us against them” mentality, while never really explaining who ‘we’ are, or who ‘they’ are.  “Capitalism, you’re a little fat man in a big expensive car hanging over a ravine.” Capitalism and government in general get blamed for the majority of problems in the world, although the only problem that is ever discussed is that fact that they are the problem. If it were not for the horrendous lyrics, the music would be interesting and listenable quite frequently. Digital decay is the best example of this, where some gritty synth lines get laid down over some fairly danceable beats, but then such frustrating (and awkwardly phrased) lyrics such as “The afterlife will be digitized, your social networks are digitized, digital decay” completely undermine any passable points the song would have had otherwise.

If you’re a fan of noise, uninspired everything and inane monotony, Atari Teenage Riot is perfect for you. Sounding very much like a less enjoyable Crystal Castles with added dashes of obnoxious Anti-Flag lyrics, this album would have fit best in the mid 90’s when ATR first started. Bands break-up for various reasons, and when ATR disbanded in 2000, retrospectively it seems like it was done out of concern for people who listen to music. Apparently it was for other reasons, because ATR is back to abusing our eardrums in the least pleasing way possible.

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