Review: The Atomic Bitchwax “3” CD

I haven't heard much from this trio in the past, but I have to say, this is a pretty solid slab of catchy rock 'n' roll that builds heavily off of a classic 70's vibe without in any way acting as a mere throwback at all. They're definitely tossing around a lot of their own nuances to keep this stuff sounding fresh, combining plenty of fiery dual guitar harmonies with a bunch of rhythmic twists and turns and energetic singing that's just barely raspy. A lot of the vocal arrangements are pretty memorable, and the catchiest elements of the song structures are sort of poppy in a way, but overall the writing isn't as straightforward as you'd expect for being so memorable. This is definitely a band that doesn't hold themselves back as a trio in the studio, either. The basslines stand on their own enough as it is, but there's definitely a shitload of guitar layering going on as well, so I'm not sure how they replicate that in the live setting, but it works great on record. Opener "The Destroyer" is among the most downright rockin' of the tunes, with an undeniably infectious chorus that totally kicks ass, while "You Oughta Know" keeps things rolling by picking up the pace and throwing in some oddly dissonant chord phrasings. "Dark Chi" is another of the most memorable tracks, again a touch faster and with some nice vocal patterns that get stuck in your head. The slightly quirkier "Maybe I'm a Leo" is among the only tracks that kind of rub me the wrong way, but thankfully they follow it up with the succinct and peppy instrumental "Force Field", so it's easy to recover. They do start to lose some steam on the tail end of the disc with a number of tracks that are a little too consistently midpaced, but they're still decent tunes, and "The Passenger" comes pretty close to hitting the mark. I have no quarrels with the recording quality at all. Everything sounds shockingly crisp and robust, to be totally honest. The drums are warm and natural, the bass is ultra thick and pounds away in the center of the mix, the guitars are crystal clear and possess just the right amount of fluidly fuzzed out distortion, and the somewhat dry vocals don't sound separated from the instrumentation at all. Like I said, no quarrels here - the shit sounds awesome. The only thing that bugs me is that some of the track separations occur a few seconds before the songs actually end, so were you to rip this puppy onto an mp3 player several songs would start abruptly sans the first snippets of their content. I don't know if that's some sort of manufacturing error limited to the first pressing of this disc or what? Oh well. The CD is housed in a great looking digipack with really colorful, high quality cover photography that catches the eye right away. Only one set of lyrics is included, but you can understand most of the words anyway and, I mean, it's rock 'n' roll, so... it's not rocket science or anything. I myself am not all that into this style of music very often, but I have to say, this is a good CD, and if you do tend to gravitate towards this stuff I'd have a hard time understanding if you didn't appreciate a lot of what's going on here.

[Meteor City]
Running time - 38:43, Tracks: 10
[Notable tracks: The Destroyer, You Oughta Know, Dark Chi]
Meteor City -