Irish alternative rockers Neon Atlas have been enjoying a whirlwind of success since their debut album, Absolute Magnitude, hit in 2013. Last year saw the Cork based trio winning over a number of UK media outlets, with appearances on programmes such as BBC Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary Show and MTV’s “Crashes Cork”. They also did an admirable job of conquering the live scene at home, winning the crowds over at an in-store performance in HMV Grafton Street and at their native county’s Indiependence Festival.
Now, they have returned with the hope of capturing the hearts and minds of even greater masses through the release of their stirring sophomore outing, Graffiti Reality. The nine track rampage of a record explodes to life with a riff so vigorous that it defies description during “Panic Button”. This sprints into an amazingly energetic verse and chorus. The irresistibly arresting instrumentation burns through the senses, delighting completely as it helps to forge a fantastically vivacious opening number.
“Get Up” begins with a more reserved riff and beat, yet still stomps purposefully towards a loud and affecting chorus. It’s a mellow but no less enthusiastic effort that becomes increasingly frantic and forceful as it progresses. “Effigy” carries a similar vibe, with brisk and bracing instrumentation which teams up with a laid back, sobering harmony. The guitars cut deep as they resound between vocal volleys, adding a lot of weight and ferocity to an already urgent anthem.
“I Never Felt So Good” bursts into a jolly barrage of guitars and drums ahead of a cheery and reassuring melody. This leads to a catchy chorus, the optimistic attitude of which is wonderfully uplifting. Sailing along nonchalantly, it seems cool and contented from start to finish. An ominous guitar blast relents briefly as the fervent verse of “Punch Drunk” takes off afterwards. The instrumentation soon erupts heavily again, penetrating and thrilling through its immense intensity. It all results in a hefty offering which is really rather invigorating.
“Stars and Echoes” charges straight into a frenzy of rapid riffs and vibrant vocals that race anxiously forward. It remains restless as it develops, culminating in a keen display of guitar skills and pressing percussion. “You Do It Well” is another passionate piece next, whose rousing rhythm absorbs immediately. Its eager instrumentation and zealous refrain are just as alluring as in previous entries, continuing to prove that these guys are genuinely invested in what they do.
The deeply resonant vocals of “Graffiti Reality” haunt as they fuse flawlessly with the dire and determined instrumentation. It’s a raw and relentless ballad throughout, despite softening somewhat as it goes on. “Velocity” grips from the get-go when it’s done, bursting into a riveting riff and distorted harmony. The instrumental elements are the true stars of the show here, maintaining a steady momentum that has a very vitalising effect.
Neon Atlas have put together an exhilarating collection of compositions that combine the genres of power pop, rock and punk to create a stimulating sound. There’s not a dull moment throughout the compilation’s half hour run-time, ensuring that you’ll feel energised after listening. Keep an eye out for Graffiti Reality when it drops on July 31st and in the meantime, you can find its predecessor, Absolute Magnitude, on Bandcamp.
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