Atom Notes is a pretty young band with under two years of history as a group, but it's members have a great deal of experience from various well-known Finnish Punk bands. This project's style was originally meant to be somewhat simplistic downstroke-rock'n'roll with no useless extra gimmicks: just plain fun and effective music to play and to listen to. This release is the band's debut EP.
The band reveals the core of it's nature right away on the first track. It's based on two to three guitars executing some downstroke-based riffs that are easy to follow, but due to the band's experience and the amount of guitars there's some small spices and twists scattered throughout the tracks keeping the listener very aware at all times. Behind the guitar wall there's a sturdy and fleshy bass sound that creates a good, simple and fittingly powerful backbone to the songs, and gives them a strong pulse. The vocals are slightly distorted and pretty clean male ones, and their somewhat monotonous but very charismatic sound works just as an another instrument. The vocal sound, guitar distortion and the very energetic and pure rock'n'roll-styled guitar solos also give a pretty good image of the band's influences, most of which are from tens of years ago - for example the guitar solo on "The Greatest Sound" is pure Hurriganes-worship. It's all very authentic, honest, and appealing. The guitar distortion is quite thin and clear, reminding me of the band's punk rock-past.
Even though the a-side is mostly high-energy and feelgood -rock with a good amount of spices, on the side b the band presents a different side of it's expression. "No Reverse" has just a slight melancholic feel, but overall the song stays away of the too serious moods. Then we get to the song four. It has a very twangy and echoed sound on it's guitars, and in the verse-part they execute very minimalistic riffs. The chorus is where things go big, as it achieves a very melancholic mood with it's mid-pace guitars and moody vocals, and it's more usual rock'n'roll guitar sound gives it more power. The song also has a fittingly minimalistic and slow solo in it's end to really finish it. This one is even surprising after the a-side's blast of energy. The sides are equally good, just in a different manner.
A word about the EP's packaging. The 7" has no cover arts, it comes packed in a thick brown slip with only the record's centres visible. Even though it's quite stylish, it doesn't provide much for the eyes - or maybe it was the point, too, to keep the focus on the music? Too bad that this solution made it pretty impossible to add a lyrics slip, as it would've ruined the EP's style. For those who want to know: the EP does include an mp3-download code.
Overall the EP leaves little to complain. The songs are pretty much flawlessly crafted and deliver positive energy, deeper moods, simplisticity teamed with smaller spices and slight punk-attitude in their playing, and the (one could say) retro-worship is presented in their own style. These songs will stick to your mind. The only real flaws are that the changes between the songs make the EP slightly inconsistent, which is no wonder as the band is so young, and that ending the whole to such a heavily mood-filled song makes it a bit difficult to want to listen to the EP again right away. On the other hand, maybe it is one of the things that make the EP endure all the listening so well?
This is a highly promising debut with a lot to give.