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Album Review

In early 1979, as Joe Perry was preparing his temporary exit from Aerosmith and the Cars were busy recording Candy-O, the Atlantics were poised to become Boston's newest export. ABC Records had signed the band in the fall of 1978, and debut album Big City Rock was released the following March (albeit under the ownership of MCA Records, who bought out ABC several weeks prior). That same month, the Atlantics left New England for a nationwide tour supporting Roxy Music, but not before playing one last hometown show at Boston's Paradise Club. Originally recorded by WCOZ-FM for the Boston Beat program, the performance is captured in its near-entirety on Live.

This is the band's second posthumous release, and it's consciously aimed at those fans who tirelessly supported the Atlantics during their brief tenure as Boston's biggest little band. In the months following this sold-out performance, Big City Rock would fail to chart, the apparent victim of MCA's limited expertise with new wave marketing. Nevertheless, the Atlantics were the hottest ticket on the evening of March 25, 1979, and there's much more than archivist appeal to these analog, overdub-free tracks. Take kick-off song "Teenage Flu," which filters Eddie Cochran's rockabilly through a mesh of proto-punk influences. Frontman Bobby Marron alternately grunts and croons, eventually dissolving into a series of grizzled yelps as the song careens toward a guitar-filled outro. This affinity for early rock & roll surfaces often, particularly in the band's raucously spot-on rendition of Motown staple "Nowhere to Run." Elsewhere, the Atlantics' power pop sensibilities take center stage: Bruce Wilkinson's surprisingly melodic bass on "One Last Night"; the band's liberal use of three-part harmonies; guitarist Fred Pineau's muscular, hook-driven riffs. In one sense, Live is nearly thirty years too late, as it makes a strong case for a band that, at the time, could've used an extra push to enter the mainstream. Still, it's a tuneful tribute to five musicians who deserved much more, and a thrilling listen for those who weren't along for the joyride.

Biography

Formed: Australia

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

One of the greatest instrumental surf groups did not even hail from America. The Atlantics, despite their name, were an Australian combo who not only emulated the sound of California surf music, but ranked among its very best practitioners. Featuring a reverb-heavy, extremely "wet" sound, the Atlantics attacked original material, standards, and movie themes with a nervy blend of precision and over-the-top intensity. As in Dick Dale's music, touches of Middle Eastern influences can be detected in...
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Live, The Atlantics
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