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Little Atlas - 'Automatic Day' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/13/67/8b/little-atlas-automatic-day-95-1386710607.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 10, 2013    
 
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A release which should satisfy a whole host of progressive rock fans.

Announcing their return to action with a free 'Official Live Bootleg' DVD release last year, Miami progressive rock outfit Little Atlas now provide their first selection of new music for some five years. In some ways it is like they've never been away, with the sumptuous mix of traditional prog values, cutting edge sound and clever atmospheres staying close to the approach that has made previous releases such as 'Wanderlust' or 'Hollow' as interesting and involving as they are. However in other ways it is clear that Little Atlas have had time to absorb some new flavours and ideas, presenting an album that should appeal to those who favour the crop of new progressives coming through: bands like Porcupine Tree or Riverside.

Vocally 'Automatic Day' finds Little Atlas stretching out, with singer and keyboard player Steve Katsikas employing a varied attack that runs the gamut from introspective and fragile to ebullient and full bodied. However, what highlights this aspect best are intricate vocal arrangements and harmonies which add a gloriously glossy sixties air to music that happily covers four decades of progressive ideals. Often Katsikas adds string-synth, one of the main aspects which reminds of Porcupine Tree, but then on other occasions it is a more traditional wash of backing atmospheres that comes through. However as you'd expect the real strength comes from the manner in which he and guitarist Roy Strattman combine. 'Oort' weaves into view, off kilter scales laying the basis from which a foreboding vibe grows even as the guitars chime out melodically. Busy percussion adds to the effect, Mark Whobrey infusing energy without the need to up the pace, although the ability of Little Atlas to then add tempo changes ensures the music always retains the attention. The laid back 'Apathy' which follows is an even greater example of how to make reserved ideas vitally energetic, while 'Twin Of Ares' clashes mid-era Genesis against a modern P-Tree feel, with bassist Rik Bigai laying down a roaming funk of thunder as the song grows from mid-paced intricacy to full on assault.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Made up of seven seven-minute-plus tracks and three shorter numbers, the likes of the threatening 'Emity True' and thumping 'Illusion Of Control' are given the time and room to evolve into and out of disparate sections, feeling expertly crafted and cohesive as they do so. By contrast the shorter 'Escape Velocity' or 'We All Remember Truth' are more pointedly focused bursts staying true to one single theme from start to finish, the end results being an album which offers up a fine blend of styles, yet which works marvellously well as one long listening experience.

Little Atlas have created a release which should satisfy a whole host of progressive rock fans, making 'Automatic Day' an automatic choice for anyone who considers prog to be their tipple of choice.

Steven Reid

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