The Phantom Tollbooth
precious and drowning
Artist: the atonement
Label: Addeybug Music
Time: 10/48.58

With help from the Choir's Steve Hindalong, this album bears more than a passing resemblance to that band's own material, especially during their Wide Eyed Wonder era. Delayed guitar and harmonic swirls abound, as do the various sound effects that are thrown in to spice up the mix. Hindalong himself even appears behind his trusty set of percussive instruments and with a couple of backing vocals. U2 is also obviously present in the influence stakes.

The music here is not terribly weak, although it could possibly do with a slightly stronger focus in the production department, but it is difficult to break away from the strength of the influences. The project is really centered around Anthony Gravley, who handles everything from lead vocals, to programming and samples, to all manner of guitars. Gravley has managed to craft a good set of songs which suggests he is a good songwriter, but is too close to his influences for my liking--I'd rather listen to the Choir making their music than someone else so dominated by them.

By James Stewart (8/14/98)