“Atlas Lab EP” Released March 17th 2015
One thing becomes abundantly clear in the first couple minutes of listening to Atlas Lab’s track “TrustFall”- there is undeniable talent and ability in this humble practice space recording.
Lead vocalist Emma, who goes by her stage name Solei, dances around the groove-driven track with a lot more comfort and ease than one would expect from such a green outfit. Her vocals are strong but playful, breaking now and then for effect and adding a cadence that makes her sound a bit more youthful than she appears. Often this kind of vocal style can come off a little girlish and start to wear on the ears (a la Purity Ring), but Solei manages to make it work in her favor, sounding more natural and personal than forced. In keeping with some of the obvious influences, such as the aforementioned Purity Ring and perhaps even CocoRosie, Solei does a wonderful job of looping and manipulating her vocals to add an additional layer on an already lush sound.
Alex Brander (drums) met Solei in Harvard Square as they were street performing and decided to put their own unique spin on folk music. With the additions of Samm Bahman (bass) and John Shakespeare (guitar), the sound began to take a much more original tack. Samm and John compliment the sound immensely with their delicate accompaniment. Shakespeare’s playing is deceptive in that it seldom takes front and center with leads or brash riffs. However, the complex textures that he weaves into the background keep the compositions afloat and are just lovely to listen to.
Atlas Lab gives us two very solid full bodied tracks that do a splendid job of conveying just exactly who they are as a band. They finish the EP with a room space recorded acoustic track that at first smells a bit like filler, then the other voices begin to seep into the background and are joined by a distant pitter patter of rhythm. Hearing Solei’s vocals stripped back really highlights her ability and the command that she holds as the very clear center piece in a band with an exciting amount of potential.