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Atlas Engine





Atlas Engine urges you to be "As You Are"

Atlas Engine is a band whose material ranges from lush laid-back elaborated-arranged art-pop not totally unlike Alan Parsons Project if Alan Parsons project was cooler (sorry Alan Parsons Project but you don’t need to be cool anyway!) to driving motorik rock perfect for your next excursion driving the Autobahn (here's a great motorik playlist to check out if you got 41 or 42 hours to spare, you're welcome!)

Officially released today, “As You Are” is the second advance single by Atlas Engine (the first being “Modern Mind”) taken from an upcoming “suite of EPs” to which the average punter on the street may reply “what’s an EP?” and “what’s a suite?” But you, dear Deli reader, are far from being average—and whether you have the attention span to process a suite of EPs or not, you can most certainly appreciate the emotional resonance and the fine Swiss craftsmanship of a song like “As You Are” (note: the band are not Swiss but no doubt consume plenty of cheese and chocolate in Brooklyn so it’s close enough). But no doubt when the song eventually appears on When the Compass Resets Part I (Favorite Friends Records) it will be all the more fulfilling in that context. 

Speaking of the band's coordinates and identity (btw you can hear all their previous singles on the comp above) up until the past year Atlas Engine was one of those deals like Nine Inch Nails where it’s really just a single guy (in this case, Nick LaFalce) and whoever he surrounds himself with on a given record or tour but minus the rivalries with Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson. But that’s all recently changed. In 2020 Nick did something pretty much the opposite of most bands I’m guessing and human beings in general in terms of retreating into near isolation and just barely managing to feed and clothe ourselves (and not always the latter) but instead he used the time to solidify a stable, permanent membership for Atlas Engine in the middle of a pandemic with said bandmates being Meredith Lampe (vocals/keys), Patrick Cochrane (Bass/vocals), Brendan McGuckin (drums), and Jeff Fettig (guitar/synth) who now also participate in the songwriting process. And yes Nick has made us all look bad in the process and should be terribly ashamed of himself, but we’ll let it slide for now because these new songs are solid and we may wanna ask for VIP passes at Atlas Engine's next live show.

So let’s now turn to “As You Are” since it’s the new one. The song fades in with an electronic wind chime kind of sound and then moments later over a relaxed, rippling drumbeat there’s an ascending piano chord pattern/bass line with a sustained layer of electronic ambience before Mr. LaFalce’s stately yet etherial vocals enter. Up through this point “As You Are” sounds a bit like Wilco being fronted by Damon Albarn, and in the opening lines he slowly declaims that “the wretched hour / we’ve been waiting for / has come.” So wait, things are about to get more wretched compared to the past year (!) or maybe he's referring to the past year so let's table the discussion for now and move on.

And then right after the line “mouth is open wide / sharpening the knife” the band goes into a Grandaddy-like section (others might say “Radiohead section” but I’m sticking with Granddaddy) with cascading synths and a warm enveloping halo of sound—and this is where the the song really gets me—plus four overdubbed voices floating above it all like a rapturous choir of Brian Wilsons singing in falsetto, and I can almost imagine this part of the song being an actual Beach Boys song from their post-Pet Sounds Smiley Smile/Wild Honey artsy period. Then for a moment everything drops out and LaFalce drops a George Harrison-ism or maybe more like an Oasis-like pronouncement to “become as you are” and this is making me realize there’s a certain Britpop vibe to the song overall under the heading of indie pop power ballads that rock out at the end.

Speaking of rocking out, after the cycle described above repeats one more time with some new textures and lyrics thrown in, “As You Are” suddenly and briefly transforms into thumping half-tempo time with a pulsating tremolo guitar complete with grungy distortion overlay and a small dash of space rock synth until one last swooning harmony-laden chorus comes in that builds to a fairly epic climax before dissolving into a final few seconds of twinkling ambience which takes the whole thing full circle. So as you can see listeners are taken on a cinematic sonic journey in the space of just over four minutes which is handy since you can boil an egg to the song no problem that is if you like a soft yolk. Also adventurous and ambitious is the song’s lyrical theme which according to Nick is about “technology’s effect on one’s understanding of themselves” which honestly I’m not sure what he’s on about because I compose these blog posts on an old Radio Shack word processor.

And speaking of ambition, one last thing that bears pointing out is the larger concept underlying “As You Are”, "Modern Mind" and the band's other soon-to-be-released material is this whole suite-of-EPs idea mentioned earlier--more specifically, a collection of four EPs to be released throughout 2021 that will taken together comprise a set of conceptually-related chapters as part of a larger overriding work that will then be released as an album of its own once the pieces are in place. And hell we at the Deli heartily co-sign this Russian Nesting Dolls approach to record releasing because even King Crimson or Yes or Rush never came up with this particular concept in the Concept Album Sciences and we support innovation in all its many forms. (Jason Lee)





Atlas Engine premieres spacey new single

Fitting to its name “New Constellation” is a floaty, spacious new track by Atlas Engine—it’s also a notable step away from the more energized and guitar heavy work that Nick LaFalce has previously released under this name. Synthesizers lead the way with an echoing drum beat providing the pulse of the track. The voice and guitars of LaFalce remain, but heavier in reverb with the vocals tending toward falsetto and the guitar leaning toward subtle and spacious melodies. The bright echo of guitar picking is perhaps the only contrast to the dreamy, nighttime mood Atlas Engine invokes here. Listen to “New Constellation” below. – Cameron Carr

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Atlas Engine to preview new music at The Mercury Lounge 7.20

It’s not surprising that Brooklyn-based Atlas Engine, the solo project of Nick LaFalce, experienced a whirlwind of success following the release of his debut EP After the End. Without question, this EP is upbeat, melody-driven indie pop, but it is also saturated with lush, dream-pop elements. The intimacy of this record is sure to be paralleled by his upcoming double single release, which he is previewing at The Mercury Lounge on July 20th. -Lilly Milman





Atlas Engine releases debut EP "after the end" + plays Bowery Electric on 07.25

One of the great powers of music consists in its therapeutic ability to allow us to create personal universes where we can get lost when needed.  If this is what you’re searching for, the songs of Atlas Engine might come in handy. This is the new project of multi-instrumentalist Nick LaFaice (formerly of BRAEVES and Terrible Terrible), offering dreamy tracks sung in his reassuring alto, like in single 'Everest,' streaming below.  Atlas Engine's debut EP, “after the end” will be released on July 29th, and you'll get a chance to see them live at Bopwery Electric on July 25th. - Madeleine Grossman 

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