The Photo Atlas

No, Not Me, Never

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If you were determined to overthrow the dinosaurs of rock, what better way than with a barrage of fast and furious songs, aimed straight at the classic rockers' virtuosity. But even as the veteran rockers roared and flailed under this assault, the second prong of the attack was under way, encircling them with ferocious assaults of juttering rhythms and slashing guitars. By 1978 it was all over, the monsters of rock were forced from their fortresses on the charts, a pyrrhic victory, as most of the punk bands already littered the battlefield. Now classic rock is back in fashion in some circles, and it's time for the likes of the Photo Atlas to resurrect their elders' tried and true strategies, and take them down again. No, Not Me, Never, takes the Denver group out of the trenches and sends them on a search and destroy mission, armed with ten slash and burn songs. I'll spare you the modern comparisons, and state definitively instead, that the set sounds like it was recorded circa 1978/1979 by a band beholden to Gang of Four. Tinged by gloomy post-punk atmospheres, driven by the shock and awe rhythms of off-kilter beats counter-pointed by pulsating bass, the album's jittery feel never eases off. Stuttering guitar lines and fiery leads add to the discomfort, even as the powerful melodies jerk one like a puppet across the dancefloor. Considering the tension within the set, many of the numbers are incredibly infectious. The rabid "Electric Shock" is a decided stunner, the jagged glass "Light and Noise" pushes towards pop, while "She Was a Matador" is outright manic. Both "Red Orange Yellow" and "Broadcasting Feedback" are utterly compulsive, and "Cutback" anthemic. Like a cubist painting brought to life, a soundtrack for anxiety-ridden marionettes, Photo Atlas are a jangle of nerves and anxiety, their music as disjointed as the world itself seems. A set to shatter everything in its path.

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