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Little Atlas - Surface Serene CD (album) cover


Little Atlas



3.56 | 51 ratings

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3 stars The hard years had yet to come for Little Atlas.David McKean left the band to continue his studies and Dan Katsikas quit, as he became a parent and moved 40 miles away from the band's basis.Scott Fansler and Tom Vazquez were their replacements, while a more progressive side was in the development, but soon the band would face another hard situation.Scott had to move to Denver and Aaron Whitman joined an unknown Pop Rock outfit.With the help of his wife Joanna, Steve Katsikas revived a fading act with a fresh line-up through ads and auditions.Drummer Diego Pocovi (in the place of the departing Tom Vazquez), bassist Rik Bigai and guitarist Roy Strattman joined the Katsikas' pair and the new formation recorded ''Surface serene'', released in 2003 on ProgRock Records.

Five years after their weak debut, Little Atlas had become a full-blown Prog band with only flashes from their past and a brand new style, delivering strong 70's influences coming from the US Prog scene.With a sound comparable to KANSAS, ETHOS and PENTWATER and resembling to the apprroach of ECHOLYN and AKACIA, ''Surface serene'' is a great step forward for the Americans, consisting of symphonic orientations, Neo Prog showering and some harder, mainly guitar-fronted ideas, always structured in complex and refreshing tracks, even if this work lacks any attempt on an epic composition.The basic components of Little Atlas' music are now the attacking synthesizers, the retro-inspired keyboard moves, the power of the electric guitars and the interesting bass work, thrown in a package of pieces, which also feature some piano-driven Classical sauce and intense, lyrical moments.Great melodies, quirky executions and tight arrangements guarantee a nice listening experience.They saw full respect to the 70's with a very vintage aura surrounding all pieces, mainly due to the abscence of the fear for producing dense and complicated music and the similarities with the old bands.The tricky organ parts and the very YES-like bass lines are another reason for the nostalgic influences.Eventually their ideas could produce a fine contrast between rich, instrumental orchestrations and smoother, electric textures, always supported by the harmony of the vocals and the good sense of melody.

US Prog is back.Interesting material with an evident balance between the modern and the old days, led by emphatic, convincing arrangements.Recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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