Album Review: Atlas Genius—“Inanimate Genius”

By Victoria Prepelita

Atlas Genius reaches for a more electronic sound on their sophomore album Inanimate Objects, which finds the Australian duo experimenting with new sounds while staying true to their previous recordings. Shifting between upbeat and slower tunes, Atlas Genius is successful in conveying a melancholic mood that would be fitting for both long car rides and simply sitting in the back of a jeep with all the doors open.

The lead single “Molecules” delves into the beginning of the universe, suggesting that the love described by singer Keith Jeffery might have a place to exist if everything happens for a reason, even if it doesn’t result in a happy ending. The lyric ‘we don’t rest if we’re lonely’ captures how people get stuck on finding ‘the one’ and the struggle of being truly alone. Jeffery continues to sing that he is ready for anything in these relations, and the heavy synth backs him up. “Molecules” has a satisfying end, being crisp and conclusive in its narrative.

Album art for Inanimate Objects

Album art for Inanimate Objects

Another song that stands out is “Refugees”; the song proves electronic works well for them, especially with a light guitar reminiscent of M83. The catchy song shows Keith Jeffery’s good voice-control when going into a falsetto. However, the lyrics are weak, and lines like ‘there aren’t really any solutions’, feel disappointing in comparison to the strong composition of the song.  A solid interlude leads into a successfully built up chorus. Unfortunately, a repetitive and stale ending fails to do justice to the rest of the song.

It is not surprising “Stockholm” was recently released as a single due to its fun rhythm. Like the city itself, the song starts chilly and calm. Thanks to a memorable, hummable chorus, the song gets stuck in your head easily. A good composition of instruments, with the typical light guitar chords and a consistent drum, accompany the brave proclamations, ‘and although we’ve just begun, we can go until we run.’ The ending is a bit lacklustre, but here it is forgiven.

Going straight into upbeat layers, the instrumental composition of this album is well-constructed, backing somewhat overused lyrics with a few quirky lines. The album is easily divided into songs similar to the older Atlas Genius and the newer electronic sound, with some overlap. Older sounding songs use synth as a powerful driving force, and the newer songs feature an occasional acoustic guitar. While this is done successfully, it makes Inanimate Objects sound like two different albums crammed together.

Atlas Genius can sense what songs are their strongest on a record- a curatorial talent not many bands have – and have chosen their best for the singles so far. The rest of the album is also enjoyable, but unfortunately not as ambitious as the currently released singles. It will be interesting to see whether the next single takes on the newer sound or the older Atlas Genius makes a reappearance.  It could change the entire listening experience; personally “Stockholmonly grew on me after I realized it was a single, which gave a new emphasis to the song. The radio’s tendency to play singles over and over gives the listeners’ the opportunity to change the listener’s opinion after being heard more than once, ‘there is no end’ earns new meaning.

Listen: “Molecules”

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