Kristopher Roe (frontman of The Ataris) is spending his time “Creating words and sounds in the basements and dive bars of the world, while young souls pile into the microphone and spill beer into my effects pedals…” according to the official blurb. No wonder he’s still angry.
The sound of Kristopher’s new album is raw and stripped down – in fact, a lot of the songs here are Ataris covers. Subsequently, it’s a very punk approach to acoustic music – and regularly meanders off into power-pop territory. He sometimes comes off a bit like a (Californian punk) protest singer, with shades of Billy Bragg or early Jam.
There’s certainly no fancy finger-picking or bluesy runs here – just Kris hammering the shit out of his acoustic six-string and pushing his vocal chords to tearing point. It’s heartfelt music, and it sounds like the ideal soundtrack to those dank basements and lonely dive bars. Again, the official line is it’s “…honest music, chock full of beautiful mistakes, played loud…”. It’s also “…recorded to analog tape…” – which is extremely laudable, and used to be the staple of the DIY recording artist. Home taping is thrilling music.
There’s a sense throughout the album that he’s still inhabiting The Ataris, despite the solo format – apparently his live shows are mostly Ataris songs, with the odd cover version. Then maybe this album is just for the hardcore Ataris fans, or for those looking for a breed of acoustic power-pop with a few more teeth. But his live shows may have a much broader appeal, and he’ll probably go down well with anyone who wants to see someone give it everything on stage for an hour.
Words: Joe McArthur Field