“The Peaceful Atom Is A Bomb” (Joint Review)
I’ve been listening to a lot of albums over the past few months, but I’ve been out of my comfort zone. By this I mean, I have really reviewed or listened to many album from my “preferred” genre, hard rock and more to the point, Australian hard rock. In saying this though, I’m not a big fan of AC/DC or really a fan at all, I just don’t “get” it, my fascination with Australian hard rock started with Grinspoon and The Vines, who were both influenced by You Am I, which in my opinion, is the most influential Australian rock act in the past two decades.
Whether it is fair or not I tend to compare rock acts with You Am I, and almost every modern Australian rock band has a likeness or similarity to You Am I. Regular John is a band that does sound similar to You Am I at times, but they have other major influences, which is reflected in the music.
‘The Peaceful Atom Is A Bomb’ is the debut album from Sydney band Regular John and last week it was triple j’s feature album for the week. The band stands out from most other modern rock bands at the moment because they are plain rock and rock, this can be taken as either a good thing or a bad thing, it really depends on what you like in music. The name of the band is taken from the Queens of the Stone Age song and despite the name they aren’t similar in style to QOTSA, for me the album’s a weird mix of songs that sound like a modern industrial AC/DC crossed with You Am I.
The songs from the album can be broken up into three categories; heavy, “soft” and the You Am I-esque fence sitting type. The first five songs are definitely the heavy type, the first song, ‘Transmitter’ is a really good song to get the album rolling and the other four really compliment it. After these five songs though, I for one was about to get distracted, I think if one more song like that started I probably would have almost discounted the album, but lucky for me one of the softer songs came on.
‘The Lonely Sky’ is by far my favourite track on the album, it saves the album from disaster and while it’s not heavy it still has its moments. Not many bands have the ability to make the transition between softer songs and heavier songs, but Regular John seems to be able to with ease. Unlike AC/DC they are able to change their sound and in the process make really interesting and unique songs. That’s not to say this kind of thing hasn’t been done before, it most definitely has, but only a few acts every so often can make albums that master more than one style.
I’ve mentioned You Am I so much for a reason; ‘Final Solution’ is that reason, while there are other obvious influences, You Am I is the one that sticks out on this track. It could almost fit straight in to You Am I’s amazing debut ‘Sound As Ever’, it is that kind of genre/style. While some people may find this album too similar to other bands, I actually found Regular John to be a really interesting mix of all these rock and hard rock influences.
I’ll talk about one more song, it called ‘Panic’. It’s one of the softer songs and starts with a piano before softly exploding into a really soulful rock song, which gives the guitarist freedom to play small solo parts. In my opinion it’s the centerpiece of the album and is what makes the album stick together.
‘The Peaceful Atom Is A Bomb’ is fairly long with fourteen tracks but it’s a real pleasure to listen to throughout, it’s not the best album for the year, but it’s an album that has gotten me back listening to some bands that I haven’t listened to for a while.
Regular John has the backing of triple j and is surely set for relative popularity in the next few years. Hopefully they revitalise Australian rock music and cause a few other bands to come out of the darkness.