So Long, Astoria Label: Sony
Good Charlotte. Blink 182. Jimmy Eat World. New Found Glory. You name it, this formula has been concocted before. It’s the new wave of punk-fused power pop, fast and furious with three or four racing chords and crashing cymbals, but drenched in sweet la-la melodies that the Goo Goo Dolls would love to call their own.
In this case, The Ataris do all they can to pull from any and every 1980s influence available, though not always as blatantly obvious as on “In This Diary” (“All the nights we stayed up talking, listening to 80s songs and quoting lines from all the movies that we love”). Kris Roe is the brainchild behind The Ataris. Moreover, he is the author of all the songs, the guitarist, the lead singer, the President and the CEO. I guess Kris Roe’s Ataris just didn’t sit right with the record company.
There is nothing wrong with So Long, Astoria, mind you, as most of the 13 tracks manage to clock in under a perfect four minutes (ideal FM radio length). This stuff is highly polished, vivacious and ultra upbeat, with more than enough sweeping hooks to fill this and the next three Ataris records. I guess the only beef here is that Roe and the boys take zero risk along the way. In fact, So Long, Astoria stands as a flawless crash course in Corporate Rock 101: How to Get Paid in 2003.
It is hard enough to not fall head over heels for the succulent sounds of “Summer ’79,” “Unopened Letter to the World” or the opening title track, but I flat challenge you to not own up to a summer crush on the jumping rendition of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer.” It’s a safe bet that So Long, Astoria will be the soundtrack of many upcoming graduation parties, pool bashes, and a popular choice for Sony Walkmans across the country this summer.