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Review ... of End Is Forever,
This review is from: End Is Forever (Audio CD)
When writing this review I was torn between giving the album a four or a five star rating. Ideally I would mark "End Is Forever" somewhere between the two (four and a half stars?), but, after much deliberation, I decided upon full marks for the album.
I believe that The Ataris have progressed in quite clear stages, with each album having its own distinct sound. If forced to put a label on them circa "End Is Forever", it would probably be Ataris go country. Don't, however, let this put you off. The album is brimming with ingenuity, with uses of slides (as often used by country artists - hence the country-ish feel) cello, piano, moog and Joey Cape, both singing backing vocals and making dead animal noises.
These, combined with the guitar style, make "End Is Forever" a slightly different prospect to "Blue Skies, Broken Hearts ...". I wouldn't say better (as I consider "Blue Skies" to be one of ,if not the best, albums ever), but better than a shameless re-hash of their previous effort.
The first track was initially one of my favourites - it has uplifting guitars but somewhat depressing lyrics. This is a theme employed in a lot in the album, and to good effect.
"Summer Wind Was Always Our Song" would fit nicely onto "Blue Skies", high praise indeed. It's probably one of the strongest tracks on the album and its lyrics are just lovely.
"I.O.U. One Galaxy" is what I consider to be the typical Ataris song - sweet (cheesy?) lyrics about girls with good guitar and drums. If you like this then you like The Ataris.
Track four is brief and to a certain extent continues the theme set by the first four tracks, with definitely love related lyrics. However, in this song you get the first of the country influences which give the song something else, and Kris certainly sounds a bit angrier. Also, the excerpt from "Clerks" is rather cool.
"Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, B, A, Start" has, obviously, a wonderful title. The song itself has a strong moog section and is generally not bad.
"Road Signs and Rock Songs" is next, and for me typifies "End Is Forever". It has great lyrics, and I would say an overall emo tinge.
"If You Really Want To Hear About It" is one of my favourite songs on the disk, I think the lyrics contrast well with the music and create quite a bleak feel. To me it sounds almost wintry. I know others might disagree, but the line "When summer's gone I won't be sad / as you cling on to all the good times that you've had" make me feel quite bleak and cold. And wintry.
Track eight is my favourite on the whole album. There is use of a piano as well as another film clip, this time from Good Will Hunting, and really quite beautiful lyrics. Magic.
"Song For A Mix Tape" is, in comparison, fairly weak. I don't especially like the words (although the quotes from Jawbreaker and the Descendents are clever), but I do like the very country outro.
The next song is magnificent. "You Need A Hug" is smart, angry and very, very catchy. It's also not a love song, bringing the total non-love songs for the album up to three and a half, if as I was counting ("Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, B, A, Start", "Fast Times At Dropout High" and to an extent, "If You Want To Hear About It").
To me track eleven, "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" is similar to the seventh song, "If You Really Want To Hear About It", which is a good thing. However, it isn’t one of the standouts for me.
"Teenage Riot" is probably one of the most well known songs on the disk, with the drum (and bass) at the beginning being rather brilliant. Overall it's angry yet bouncy (and makes the non-love song total five, counting half of "How I Spent My Summer Vacation").
Song thirteen is imaginatively titled "Song #13", but is, in effect, the title track. Fast and angry, it's fantastic. Probably the third best song on the album.
The closer is "Hello And Goodbye" a very acoustic, very love-song closing to the album. Not really one of my favourites.
In conclusion, "End Is Forever" is a very good album. It's different to the others, but still better than pretty much any other band you care to mention. Elements of country, emo and the Ataris are a nice mix, and whilst possibly a tad cheesy in places (the reason I was torn between five and four stars), contains some of their best songs. Oh, and the final non-love song count was five and a half (half of "Song #13). Buy it!