The Atari Star – Dispelling the Myth of Accurate Maps EP

The Atari Star
Dispelling the Myth of Accurate Maps EP

Marc Ruvolo, head of Johann’s Face Records, decided to ditch the desk for a while and live his own rock and roll dream, thus forming The Atari Star. Ruvolo has tackled the role of vocals and guitar, and the transition from label head to front man is fully complete. He sings in that sort of half nightmare scary, half sleepy-time voice in a a falsetto drone that could either put you to sleep or creep the hell out of you. So the haunting and soothing mix is a bit like Queensryche in their song “Silent Lucidity.” It’s partly a bed-time lullaby and partly an epic and textured rocker.

Overall, though, this is an album of tranquil and lush but often somber dream pop. The stand-out track is the instrumental jam “And What About Ambition.” The band really seems to gel and come together with eerie, washed-out screeching guitar. It begins with a nice build-up and driving rhythm, but the skill executed in this is not duplicated throughout this six-song EP. In fact, the output inspires very little in the listener. What starts off as an eerie and quirky record, upon repeated listening simply becomes annoying and grating.

The production unfortunately is not crisp or particularly advantageous to the band’s music and sound. It has a washed-over and distant feel. Perhaps it’s a bit more analog than digital, like a third-generation dubbing of your favorite Mogwai album. The music is somewhat of a mix between the quirky elements of Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, Mighty Rime, and the build-up and sparseness of a band like Mogwai.

But the freshness of those groups is not replicated throughout Dispelling the Myth of Accurate Maps. The band seems tired and lackadaisical, never motivating themselves about the mediocre realm of fuzzed-out indie rock. This EP is the musical equivalent of stale bread. Certainly the music can be digested, but consuming it is not as pleasant experience as the band hopes.