The Atom Age: Kill Surf City
A lot of things pass for punk these days, from tattooed Warped Tour screamers, to cute, young, friendly pop stars with guitars and crazy hair, to a lot of the bands that operate under the Indie banner. That’s why it’s nice to be able to point to a band and say, without a shadow of a doubt, “This is a punk band.” From the moment The Atom Age’s debut Kill Surf City begins, it’s clear what the best word to describe them is.
The album’s first track, “Turn It Around,” starts with lightning guitar riffs that are quickly followed by thunderous drums. There is little, if any, time to catch your breath in between each of the thirteen songs, which is the true definition of pop-punk. The songs are catchy and you can sing and dance to them, but they have grit and attitude and are often played really fast and hard, just as The Ramones were.
The band is fronted by Ryan Perras who also plays drums for The Queers, so you know his punk rock credentials are valid. His deep, husky voice is perfect for growling “Kill Surf City/ We don’t give a damn!” It gets even better when his vocals are joined by Peter Niven’s in the chorus of “Cut and Dry.”
The masterstroke though is the inclusion of a saxophone. Sax has been used in punk before, usually to play a solo or make some noise in select spots. Not here though. Brendan Frye’s saxophone playing is woven in with the rest of the instruments, becoming an integral part of the songs. It’s used mainly as a rhythm instrument, which is unusual for this genre. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t step out, as evidenced by the mad leads on “Look, Watch, and Listen.”
With the saxophone to set them apart, on top of great songwriting, The Atom Age are one of the best and certainly one of the most interesting new punk bands out there today.