The Atari Star – Aniseed

The Atari Star’s 4th full length, Aniseed, sounds a lot like an early 1960’s pop album. It relives pop’s early days when aspiring hipsters tried to exude youthful enthusiasm while needing to earn the respect of established record execs and pop composers like Burt Bacharach. These hipsters appealed to youth by injecting a little rock n’ roll and sought respect with tight musicianship and varied instrumentation. The result on Aniseed, as it often was back in the early 60’s, is mixed; upbeat songs are performed with stiff-as-a-board execution, making the songs sound a little awkward and impersonal.

There’s adept musicianship abound on Aniseed. The bass work is solid, time is perfect and vocal pitch is always spot on. Apart from the occasional dull drum timbre, the production flatters. These guys sound like a disciplined pop unit.

Unfortunately, personality and hooks are amiss. The album sets out with “This is Where I Often Pause”, which, like much of the album, captures early British pop influences. But with each chorus a “La, la da da da da da” is issued without a trace of pep. Perhaps the opener should have been track two, “Astrid, Wie Ghet’s”, a momentum building, playful track that threatens to let loose.

Track 3, “The Be All End All”, is one of four acoustic guitar-based songs. This one sports the often neglected bassoon. The song is decent, simple, but not “catchy” in the least. This is supposed to be a pop album.

Aniseed’s indisputable highlight is “Double Predestination”, a catchy, almost downright infectious song vaguely reminiscent of Modern English’s “Melt With You”. But after this, the album is dogged by more downer acoustic numbers and stiff, forgettable upbeat pop songs, including the title track.

The members of The Atari Star are good musicians and the band has a back catalog probably worth exploring, but Aniseed is a bore of a pop record. Indie fans can rest assured when skipping this one.