Crafting simple, barebones indie pop tunes with "la-la-la"'s is about the last thing one might expect from a band which features Marc Ruvolo, formerly of the Chicago band No Empathy and the lewd, snotty punk act the Traitors. Surprisingly, Ruvolo shows remarkable versatility in his personal style of playing, as the Atari Star is no horrendous failure. Not by a long shot. Rather, taking punk simplicity, the band builds upon that three-chord norm and creates ten sparse tunes. Utilizing extra percussion, piano, Hammond organ, and acoustic guitars as well as the standard rock band lineup, the Atari Star has given the listener a pleasant listen on Shrp Knf Cts Mtns. The album starts off with Ruvolo's vocals, which can be hard to get used to at first, yet they quickly work their way into fluidity with the music. The range on Ruvolo's voice is limited from a whisper to hushed sung/spoken lyrics. The music doesn't really allow for a lot of experimentation for the vocal work, but the fact is that both aspects do work well together for the general course of the album. The Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba makes a guest appearance on guitar and vocals on the next-to-last track, "Winter Birthmark," and harmonizing with Ruvolo makes for a big highlight on the album. The production work by Jeremy Lemos is excellent and doesn't show the band with any flaws sound-wise. In a genre that one would assume would be so easy in which to compete (and yet that is hardly the case at all), the Atari Star's debut LP shows a band ready to make a name for itself.
AllMusic Review by Kurt Morris