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the Midwest: Sleeping
Label: Lujo Records
Time: 22.5 minutes
Whenever there is a breakthrough from the indie world to the pop world, there is an inevitable swarm of copycat acts in the wake. Take for instance the gaggle of whining boys with acoustic guitars, filling coffee shops around the country, screaming infidelities. As soon as Dashboard Confessional made the epic diary sing-along popular, a countless many took their plight off their blog and onto the stage. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing so terrible about pouring your heart out ala Chris Carraba, but it’s true that you won’t change the face of music, let alone culture, with old stock.
Ateriavia has presented us with a booty-shaking throw down of dissonant guitars and layered, hollered vocals over an unrelenting attack on drums. Regarding the Midwest: Sleeping_ is accessible and danceable although any one familiar with At the Drive-In will find the similarities between the bands near unnerving. Local VFW halls and DIY shows have seen their share of bands like this ever since At the Drive-in had there hit with “One Armed Scissor.” Certainly it’s not as prevalent as the Carraba kids are, but it is undeniable.
As mentioned, most of the vocals on this EP are shouted. Because of this, they sacrifice vocal melody for a sense of urgency, but they never follow through with lyrics poignant enough to validate the urgency. For instance, “Oh, no we’ve lost communication,” is shouted out over what I’m assuming would be the title track if the tracks weren’t titled as random quotes. (I’m only assuming that they are quotes, but in all honesty I could be wrong. Some of them are terribly funny though. Take, “Oh, You Must Have Mistaken John Elway for Someone who can't Throw a Vortex the Length of Two Football Fields,” for example. That’s funny man.) Other lyrics include, “Can you hear the leukemia in the phone. Listen closely cause it’s telling us we gotta go,” and “I like the '80’s better…”
On the other hand, Ateriavia do play tight together, and the guitars are thick and full. The bass could come up in the mix and carry the songs more but all in all, the mix is good. Also it’s a good twenty-two plus minutes long, so as far as EPs go, you’re getting your money’s worth. And we should take into account that they are comprised of members all under 21. I definitely would not rule them out for future releases. By their next album they could easily mature enough to make me eat my words.
Bottom line is that if you
loved At the Drive-In and are aching for music to take place in their absence,
you’ll find yourself with something to tap your foot to in Ateriavia. From
beginning to end, this EP blazes on. There is hardly time to catch
your breath between songs. This is wonderful soundtrack to drive
fast and reckless to, and I think that something should be said for the
fact that they fit six whole song titles on the back of the c.d. when considering
that the shortest weighs in at eight words and thirteen