It’s been three years since ‘Parallel Love’, the excellent sophomore release from Atlas. So how have the band managed to handle the tricky third album syndrome? Well, they’ve absolutely knocked it out of the park! ‘Built To Last’ is full of classy Melodic Rock numbers, with a smattering of Prog here and there, plus a superb production from keyboardist James Thorley. The line-up is unchanged: vocalist Craig Wells, guitarist Howie Little, bassist Chris Redfearn, skinsman Ryan Briggs, and the aforementioned Thorley. A stable line-up, and taking their time has definitely helped the band to come up with fifty-eight-minutes of extremely listenable music.
Opener ‘All Or Nothing’ jumps out of the speakers; the guitar solo is a cracker, the chorus is simple but memorable, and the keyboards add that extra ingredient. ‘You’re Not Alone’ is very catchy and reminiscent of Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My Life’. Little is all over ‘One More Night’ like a rash – brilliant guitar work, and another very catchy number. The quality does not drop during ‘Another Heartbreak’ – Redfearn’s bass lines are prominent, the guitar solo is short but effective, the drums are deafening, and the song is a winner. ‘Tears’ is a slower song with a lovely, simple guitar riff throughout, and a heartfelt vocal from Wells. Thorley’s piano introduces ‘Unfamiliar Love’, before the guitar comes crashing in; it also features a catchy chorus and an amazing three-way duel between the drums, keyboards and guitar – it’s a tie!
Next up is the insanely catchy ‘Just Like That’; if this had come out in the mid- eighties it undoubtedly would have been a huge hit. The band show their Prog tendencies with the epic fifteen-minute ‘Chasing Portraits’ suite, which is split into three songs; the first part, ‘Lonely Hearts’, is a mellow AOR tune which comes to life half way through, where Little’s guitar trades off against Thorley’s Hammond... superb! ‘Closer To The Picture’ is very eighties sounding again, and Thorley dominates the track with synths and keyboards. The trilogy ends with the fantastic ‘Painted Memories’, featuring a lilting piano, stellar guitar work, soaring vocals and a great rhythm section; when it all comes together, it equals aural magic! ‘Bury A Lie’ is a heavy, but melodic track. The album ends with the brilliant ‘Best Is Yet To Come’, which has a Kings Of Leon-sounding keyboard running throughout.
Atlas have hit gold here – an absolutely brilliant release!
Reviewer & Album Information
Reviewer: Az Chaudhry
Genre: Melodic Rock
Issue Reviewed In: #104