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The Ataris

Hang Your Head In Hope - The Acoustic Sessions

Review by Gary Hill

There are instances where less is more. I think that might have been the case here. Every single song on this set is good. The problem is that the vast majority are too similar in terms of arrangement, tempo and style. That makes it very hard for songs to stand apart from the rest. It begins to feel a bit like one long song. I think that leaving a few of these pieces off the disc would have helped. Another thing that could have been done would have been to move the final three songs (which are the most "different" pieces of the disc), locating them throughout the set. Mind you, a lot of people just listen to a song or two at a time these days rather than a whole album from start to finish. This would definitely work well that way.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
12.15.10
Driving acoustic guitar brings this cut into being. The vocals rock out over the top. This is catchy and meaty.
Can't Hardly Wait
While this is acoustic based, there is a punky energy and vitality to it. It has some solid hooks, too. This number earns a definite parental advisory.
My Hotel Year
While not a huge change, this is another strong number. It's more of an alternative rocker.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Again, this comes across as more of the same. Taken by itself it's a good tune. It just gets a bit lost in terms of identity here.
The Graveyard of the Atlantic
There isn't a big change here, but this manages to stand pretty tall among the sea of similar music.
Your Boyfriend Sucks
More of the same, this works pretty well.
Eight of Nine
While the formula is wearing thin by this point, there is an angry energy here, and the short mellower moment is a nice touch. The powerhouse fast paced guitar late also helps this tune to stand tall.
Broken Promise Ring
Somehow, this seems to eek out its own identity by combining punk and folk rock into an energized alternative rocker.
The Hero Dies in This One
Another in more of an alternative rock vein, this has some solid vocal hooks. It does suffer a bit from the monolithic nature of the set, though.
All Souls' Day
Taken by itself, this is strong. As part of the set, it suffers a bit. It does have some real anger in it and earns a parental advisory.
In This Diary
A rocking number, this manages to feel a bit more melodic than some of the others, gaining a bit of its own identity in the process.
Skulls
Somehow this feels a bit rawer than some of the rest. It manages to stand pretty tall because of it.
Unopened Letter to the World
This one definitely gets lost in the sea of sameness.
San Dimas
Another that lands in the "too samey" category, this would be one I would have left off the set.
Oh, Kansas City
Now, this is a real change. There is a sense of country music brought by some of the guitar fills. The whole vibe and energy seems different, too. The variety this brings really allows it to shine.
Soul and Fire

This one feels a lot different, too. It has some cool raw texture to it.

From a Tower

A more melodic and developed song structure is on display here. This is another with a real sense of uniqueness. It's also another highlight and has a much fuller arrangement.

 

 
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