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Green Bay trio pack a roots-flavored
power-pop wallop

Fun w/ Atoms - Smart
(Blurb Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Jan. 28, 2011
Fun w/ Atoms

Review by Tony Bonyata

Hailing from a town known more for the colors green & gold than music, the Green Bay, WI trio Fun w/ Atoms, nonetheless, score big on their latest full-length effort Smart. The music that races from their third album is filled with punchy power-pop hooks, catchy harmonies and crisp electric guitars that shimmer and shake. What the threesome of Rick Smith (guitars and vocals), Dan Collins (bass and vocals) and Curt Lefevre (drums, percussion, and vocals) incorporate into the genre in equal measure, though, is a defiant Americana swagger that hearkens back to Uncle Tupelo's dustbowl country music spiked with punk aesthetics.

The album was appropriately titled after the legendary Smart Studios in Madison, WI where it was recorded. Co-owned and operated by Butch Vig and Steve Marker (both of the alternative rock band Garbage), Smart Studios' music cliental reads like a who's who of modern rock greats, such as Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Tad, Killdozer, Sparklehorse, Death Cab For Cutie and many others. This wasn't the first album that Fun w/ Atoms recorded at Smart Studios, but it would be their last there as the studio sadly closed their doors last May after 27 years. In fact, Fun w/ Atoms' Smart would be the last full album recorded there.

More than an epitaph, however, the album stands as a strong and positive reminder of the great music that the studio produced over the last quarter century. Many of the upbeat numbers such as "Mystery," "Ringing In My Ears," "Welcome To My World," "Restless Kind" and the catchy opening track "Walking The Razor's Edge" are all finely crafted songs that effortlessly blend rock, pop and country into one satisfying platter. If you're a fan of early Wilco, Tom Petty, Big Star or Cheap Trick than Fun w/Atoms' latest just may be the thing you've been waiting for.

For more info on the band go to:

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