Contrary to popular opinion in the Northern Hemisphere, helped no doubt by the misty atmosphere of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, New Zealand is not really all that different from anyplace else on the globe. For example, the Kiwis need their faceless, label-driven corporate alt-rock bands just as much as the United States does, except that where America has Daughtry, New Zealand has Atlas. Not so much formed organically as they were grown in a petri dish by a handful of industry veterans, including bandleader and label head Ben Campbell (formerly of the equally calculated rockers Zed), Atlas are strictly commercial alt-rock by numbers. Kentucky-born singer Sean Cunningham at least comes by his flat, affectless American accent honestly, but his vocals are indistinguishable from literally dozens of other post-Eddie Vedder types, with little flair or personality. "Mr. Sorrow" and "Saving Grace," the lead vocal showcases for bassist Beth Campbell, become the album's high points almost by default thanks to her comparatively appealing, moody vocals. The band was formed in Los Angeles while the Campbell siblings were working on Beth's never-completed solo debut. The change in focus may have been an artistic mistake, but at least it had the desired commercial effect: first single "Crawl" was a number one hit in New Zealand, and the album itself went gold.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason