The release of WELCOME THE NIGHT finds The Ataris pushing their musical boundaries into new and exciting territories. Having created an avid fan base following ten years of touring and five releases through Kung Fu records, the band finally hit gold with 2003's SO LONG ASTORIA along with the massive radio hits for In This Diary and Boys of Summer. WELCOME THE NIGHT is guaranteed to be immediately embraced among the core faithful and is destined to defy expectations. The undeniable hook of first single Not Capable of Love will be a welcome addition to every radio programmer's playlist and tracks like And We Become Like Smoke, Secret Handshakes, and A Soundtrack For This Rainy Morning show an undeniable creative growth and maturity.
Much more than the passage of time has occurred in the four years between the release of The Ataris's So Long Astoria
and Welcome the Night
: Half of the group left while the two existing members (frontman Kristopher Roe and guitarist John Collura) decided to change their sound considerably. Losing much of their previous punk/pop leanings and gaining an atmospheric hue, Welcome the Night
is more of a darkly-lit whole than a series of radio-friendly singles. A Killers-esque vocal style weaves in and out of the disc, most notably on the opening two tracks ("Not Capable of Love," "Cardiff-by-the-Sea") while a handful of other numbers ("Secret Handshakes," "And We All Become Like Smoke") ooze with the affectation of Disintegration
-era Cure. The group finds their own engaging sound on a handful of tracks; "Whatever Lies Will Help You Rest" and the uncredited track 15 contain a strong sense of emotional theatre, thanks to frontman Roe's soaring vocals. His gothy, clichéd lyrics, however, are nearly cringeworthy to hear ("I will drown inside the anguish of your heart" from "Act V Scene IV"). The Ataris are in many respects still a young band, showing influences on their sleeve a little too clearly while they search for their own identity. Their overt change in sound may disenfranchise the group from some longtime fans, but it will likely engage more new ones with deeper roots than ever before. --Denise Sheppard