Harmonic Divisions And Cosmic Rays Volume 1

New Atomic Collective

Planet X Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Mark Feldman


It's rare these days to hear rock music that doesn't sound like somebody else. But Toronto's New Atomic Collective sound like nobody but… New Atomic Collective. Oh, there is a little modern Brit-Pop here, a little Billy Idol there, a little Bowie everywhere, but for the most part, I've never heard anything like this.

Their debut seven-song EP on Planet X records intrigues for precisely that reason. New Atomic Collective was founded by Toronto musician Jon Mychal, who plays all instruments, except for drums and the occasional guest appearance. A veteran of the Toronto music scene, the Collective is his third band but the first of its type - Brooklyn Wells were a rap/metal outfit, Three Pound Universe were a dark alternative pop band, but this new release is bouncier and more accessible.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Not that accessible implies lack of substance. Mychal tackles both lightweight ("Candle," "Can't Get 2 U") and heavyweight ("Woman And The Child") romantic themes with equal professionalism and originality. On a broader base, "I'm Telling You" is about pursuing things in general. But it's the sound that's really captivating - "Liquid Diamonds" opens up the album with a trippy dance groove and some interesting layering of background vocals. "Can't Get 2 U" is just plain fun, sort of a Prince-meets-Guns n' Roses rocker, you have to hear it to believe it.

"Candle" (which includes the line "I wish you here with your long strange hair") rides a Pearl-Jammy guitar lick and coasts into a super-intense chorus at a slower pace, then features a wonderful bridge where piano, string-emulating keyboards and a soaring guitar seem to talk to each other. Somehow the original theme comes back, but you don't know how it got there. This, boys and girls, is intelligent pop songwriting.

What makes New Atomic Collective's sound unique is the ability to make electronic rhythms sound homespun and organic, and to mix hip-hop inspired beats with classic rock and '80s-inspired somgwriting. Mychal is clearly the kind of studio noodler who knows what he's doing. I can't imagine most their songs translating too well to the stage, or being hits, but this is the just the beginning for them, and hopefully they'll be back for more. For more information, check out www.mp3.com/newatomic, where you can download 5 songs.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Mark Feldman and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Planet X Records, and is used for informational purposes only.