Atlas (Yesh, 01.2010)
For: This Will Destroy You, Lymbyc Systym, Arms & Sleepers
Byline: Glowing electonic ballads lead post-rock and shoegaze into its most logical and terrifying qualifier driven sub-sub genre. Post-post-rock.
I would start off this review by cracking a joke about the strength of the American Dollar, but that would require referring to Atlas as weak and failing on the global market. (Insert rimshot sound here). Atlas is the American Dollar under the Clinton administration. The American Dollar have produced a stunningly gorgeous record. Skirting the lines somewhere between the crescendo-driven excesses of post-rock, the aural sheen of shoegaze, and the skittering electronics and ascending/descending piano lines of bands like The Album Leaf and tourmates Arms and Sleepers. The American Dollar force the moments of brooding soundscapes, stirring washes of synths, and the straight-for-the-throat, Top Gun Anthem soaring guitar heroics into three-half minute chunks of pure headphone noise candy. Before passing The American Dollar off as one of those electronic bands that use electric guitars for that emotional punch-in-the-face crescendo that post-rock sells all for, tracks like "red letter" make me wonder why I even applied that post-rock tag to begin with. The song is constructed around downright "wobbly" dubstep tempo before layering some serious Vangelis like synth bombs on top and masticated guitars that are chewed up and spit out the other end of a sequencer. What do we call this, "dub-gaze"? Regardless, The American Dollar has ventured into waters only swimmable by a few bands who can marry electronics and shoegaze guitars without sounding contrived. M83, you have laid a wonderful, treacherous pathway.