Little Atlas is a Miami-based progressive rock band who have already released four albums in the past, namely Neverworldly (1998), Surface Serene (2003), Wanderlust (2005) and Hollow (2007). On all of those releases you can hear that they were most of all influenced by bands such as Yes and Genesis. However you could never say that they are copy cats that just tried to imitate them. Thanks to the influences taken from other styles and bands, they always kept their own identity. This is also the case with their latest release.
On Automatic Day the already mentioned influences are still present. You could also say that Steve Katsikas (lead vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar, sax), Roy Strattman (guitar),Rik Bigai (bass) and Mark Whobrey (drums) did manage to come up with a well balanced album. An album on which the up tempo tracks and more mellow pieces are very well divided. For example, on the first track Oort, the band goes into full gear and you hear excellent guitar parts accompanied by beautiful Mellotron parts. It is followed by the more laidback song Apathy which again has fantastic melodic guitar parts with traces of Pink Floyd, again accompanied by beautiful Mellotron parts. On Twin Of Ares, again the pace is more up tempo and you hear a Gentle Giant kind of rhythm performed on the keyboards and drums. On this album, one strong composition is followed by another strong one. At The End Of The Day is such a track on which you hear that the band can write fantastic prog tunes. Those songs combine mellow and up tempo parts in a perfect way and are a real treat for every proghead. Most of all, the Mellotron parts which are used throughout the entire album are very beautiful done. Occasionally some heavy guitar parts are included as well and mixed with some very melodic guitar solos. Listen for example to a track such as Illusion Of Control and you'll know what I mean! The entire album actually doesn't have any weak points and therefore it is easy to hear the whole seventy minutes of music without losing interest.
After an absence of six years it is good to have Little Atlas back in the spotlight with an incredible album. Automatic Day is of a very high level and worth buying if you like bands such as Yes and Genesis. Highly recommended!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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