Customer Review

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'm taking it back!... I'm taking them all back...", 24 Feb 2003
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This review is from: So Long, Astoria (Audio CD)
It's easy to be dissapointed with the first listen of The*Ataris first major label release. It's no 'Blue Skies...', it's no 'End Is..', either. I think peoples expectations will influence their first impressions of this album. But after 5 or so listens, the tracks will slowly start to stand out from each other, each one becomming as memorable as the next. And that's one of the main themes of the album, memories.
"Life is only as good as the memories we make!"...
Kris belts out the start of the chorus with that line on the opening, title track. 'So Long, Astoria', the opening track is one of the first times I have ever had goosebumps listening to a song. It's packed super tight with emotion, after a few listens it explodes into a cacophony of super charged passion, you can hear it in Kris' voice, it gets better with every listen. I loved the not so obvious Goonies reference at the end of the song "I'm taking it back!... I'm taking them all back..." Genius, Kris.
'Takeoffs & Landings' goes back to the roots of the singalong Ataris song structures with the catchiest of hooks and awesome build ups, and the lead single 'In This Diary' which will probably, but hopefully not, be smeared accross MTV, is a pure power-punk-pop fest, with a super charged chorus' and another great sing-a-long hook, make this an instant Ataris classic.
'My Reply' is Kris' response to an Australian fan who wrote him a letter and a poem whilst laying in hospital with a life threatening illness. Live, this sounded great, and I feel they've done a good job with the amped up version, but I feel it could have been a little more emotional and effective with Kris strumming acousitcally, and singing. But still I think they did a good job. 'Unopened Letter To The World' is a trakc about the life and times of the poet Emily Dickenson, and about how artists get their work recognised and appreciated more posthumously, than when they were alive.
'The Saddest Song' is a piano driven ballad where Kris pours his heart out to his daughter, who unfortunately he doesn't get to spend much time with because of being in the band. This is one of Kris Roe's best lyrical pieces and one of the most touching and most touching songs I've ever heard. I can see how easily fans are able to cry whilst hearing this live, and the cries of "Please fooorgive me, I'm sooo sorry.. I will make it up to you..." towards the closure of the track fuels the emotional fire even more, and is truly a sad song.
Things get brighter however, with the next track, 'Summer '79', which has a trademark Ataris melody the whole way through, thouroughly hummable and catchier than a cold in a crowded room.
"The Hero Dies In This One" slows the speed but ups the ante, the guitars pound away during the chorus, and there's a really effective explosion sound just before the chorus which makes you wanna throw the nearest random object against the furthest wall, as Kris screams "Stay who you are!".
The Ataris have always been a very personal band in terms of lyrical content, and you may be happy to hear that 'So Long, Astoria' is probably the most personal album so far.

'Trying To Believe' is one of the brighter gems in the treasure chest, and believe me, all of these songs are pure gold. Another typical Ataris melody and a fantastic chorus and you'll be jumping around your room in no time. You may also be happy to hear Kris screaming his lungs out during the closure of the song, 'Ray...' stylee. Awesome. Let's go punch a wall.
Onto a song your parents will prolly remember, The Ataris shred to bits Don Henley's 'The Boys of Summer', with a phenomenal cover. This sounds like an original Ataris song, it's executed so well. An updated version of 'Radio #2' slightly differs from the original but overal, except for a minor change in lyrics (explosives replaced with guitar), but overall is better and carries the same hugely catchy melody.
'Looking Back On Today' was added by the Ataris after the fans demanded it, and so that's what they got. The song is a huge fan favourite and sounds unbelievable in it's new shiny form. Classic.
'Eight of Nine' closes the album and is a great way to finish off things.
Overall it's two thumbs up to Kris and the Santa Barbara boys, this surpasses the greatness of 'End Is Forever' and 'Anywhere But Here', and rivals the masterpiece that is 'Blue Skies...'.
You won't be dissapointed after you've given it enough time, I give you my word.
Kris is an amazingly nice guy and I was fortunate enough to meet him in London, and they thouroughly deserve everything good they get.
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4.8 out of 5 stars (25 customer reviews)
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Location: Salisbury, England.

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