Atlas Genius – Through the Glass EP

Atlas Genius

If you’re new to the musical journey of Australian band Atlas Genius, welcome to a feel-good narrative powered by healthy doses of DIY passion, rapturous melodies, and massive strokes of good fortune in the all-encompassing social media age.

In an era where it’s more unlikely than ever before that major labels will sign new bands, three brothers and one friend from Adelaide, Australia pulled off the nearly unthinkable by starting a major label bidding war on the strength of one song. That song, “Trojans,” was recorded, produced, and mixed in a studio the university-age brothers constructed with their own hands, and they self-released it on Triple J Unearthed, Soundcloud, Amazon, etc. without any publicity.  Within a year, “Trojans” earned iTunes “Song of the Week” honors in Australia and New Zealand, sold more than 45,000 downloads in a few short months, initiated a bidding war led Warner Bros. to sign three brothers who spent years playing Beatles, Stones, and Police covers at night in local pubs, and earned Atlas Genius a slot on a vast US tour with current rock giants Silversun Pickups and Cloud Nothings.

Atlas Genius’ debut EP, titled Through the Glass, is a four-song, self-produced effort bookended by original and acoustic versions of “Trojans,” as well as two new songs, “Back Seat” and “Symptoms.” On the EP, Atlas Genius capitalize on the indie pop greatness of “Trojans” while adding a few more layers that signal even more exciting things on the horizon for the Aussies and their forthcoming debut album.

“Trojans” is undeniable in its hooky insistence to get you moving and smiling without forcing the issue. Much like the grand achievement Phoenix pulled off for the entirety of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’s 10 electrifying songs, “Trojans” is a radiant radio blast of thrilling ear candy begging you to move and immerse yourself in its blissful three and a half minutes of kinetic energy. The song opens with acoustic strumming and a steady beat with production that calls to mind much of Chris Walla’s work, especially with his own band Death Cab for Cutie. Once the whole band kicks in after Keith Jeffery’s first verse, “Trojans” truly detonates. Atlas Genius create a pulsating world of corkscrewing guitars, warm harmonies, and handclaps galore. It’s a wonder to behold and get lost in, and God help you if you think can make it through the rest of your day without hearing it again.

Where Atlas Genius succeed most on Through the Glass is their wise decision to (as The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn says) “dance with who you came to the dance with.” “Back Seat” follows in the footsteps of “Trojans” by concocting a vibrant kaleidoscope of sounds on the strength of Sell’s warm key layers, picked guitar, and a superb rhythm section, while the enrapturing chorus delivers the biggest charms of all, thanks to Jeffery’s vocal shifts and the sexy backing harmonies. “Symptoms” is a different, more propulsive beast of similar lineage, and it bursts to life from the outset with Michael Jeffery’s relentless muscle behind the kit. It’s on the strength of “Symptoms” where Silversun Pickups’ decision to tap the Aussies for their expansive American tour makes perfect sense. Here, especially with the fevered tempo and Keith Jeffery’s inspired guitar heroics, Atlas Genius truly bridges indie pop perfection with powerful rock and roll. It’s a delicious combination that the band shouldn’t forget when they hit the studio to record their debut album.

Through the Glass proves that “Trojans” was no lightning strike of good fortune that left the tank empty (or even a quarter empty). “Symptoms” and “Back Seat” are every bit as thrilling as Atlas Genius’ definitive single “Trojans,” and they mesh together for a vibrant and exhilarating, if not wholly groundbreaking, three-song (and one acoustic bonus) introduction to a band of young Aussies primed to do great things in the future thanks to superb melodies, strong musicianship, and more than a hint of serendipity. If there is anything about Through the Glass that’s worthy of a gripe, it’s that three songs and one acoustic rendition of a truly great single are barely enough to hold us over. We can’t wait to see what the full-length debut will have in store for us.


Through the Glass EP is out now via Warner Bros. Records.

Atlas Genius

Atlas Genius – “Trojans”

Atlas Genius – “Back Seat” (Video)

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