The Atari Star

Prayer + Pretend

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The third album by the Atari Star, which counts Johann's Face principals Marc Ruvolo and Davey Houle, is a forceful blend of all things right with indie rock's past and present. While some could fault Prayer + Pretend for being derivative of everyone from Fugazi to Shellac (a point exacerbated by a cover of the latter's "Copper,") the Atari Star should not be dismissed so easily. If the band is equally creative and unstoppable on "Starve a Fever" and "Night Striped Assassins," Ruvolo is the heart of the band. Not just a capable frontman with unique pipes, but a man with a refreshing approach on the atmospheric, yet abundantly melodic "Bridge of Sighs." And when the group (which also counts bassist Rob Vester) briefly eases away from the disc's abundant guitar distortion for the organ-fed, acoustic-based "Silver Montgomery," it comes closer to the allure of modern staples like Modest Mouse and the Flaming Lips.

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