The Photo Atlas at the hi-dive, 2/8/13
Tom Murphy The Photo Atlas at The Hi-Dive
THE PHOTO ATLAS @ HI-DIVE | 2/8/13
The wide-ranging sounds of "Memory Like a Sinking Ship" was one of the high points of this set from the Photo Atlas. The way the band's usual wiry energy was threaded together with colorful, incandescent moody passages and hanging melodies around confessional, self-effacing lyrics like, "If this is a dream, why am I the last one to figure it out," gave the song a surprisingly sonic and emotional resonance and dynamism.
Tom Murphy The Photo Atlas at the hi-dive.
If you'd never seen these guys before, you got to see the band in high form. If you had, it was like seeing these guys at a new peak, especially in terms of how well integrated the sound and energy has become across the board. The group seems to have tapped into some deeper reserve of energy to keep up what was already a hectic pace. Frontman Alan Andrews mentioned that this show was a bit out of the ordinary for the band because the outfit normally plays "seven songs, twenty minutes and then out the door." With that, the band got back into the excellent track from its latest album, Stuck in a Honey Trap, "Bleeding Colors."
The whole thing gave you a new appreciation for how Bill Threlkeld plays. He doesn't just play fast, melodic, spiky riffs; instead, he throws in other bits and pieces of sound into the song to ramp up a tuneful sense of urgency in exactly the right moment and pulling that back in others. This feat was helped in no small part by Josh Taylor and Mark Hawkins who both created a tight rhythm with bursts of texture to modulate the momentum perfectly.
Tom Murphy The Photo Atlas at the hi-dive
Naturally, the guys reached back and played early favorites like "Handshake Heart Attack" and "Jealous Teeth" early in the set, and when Andrews came close to the front of the stage and sang, plenty of people knew the songs, even newer songs like "Move It Darling." Probably the most enthusiastic response of the night came at the end when Andrews called up members of In the Whale and The Epilogues up to the stage, and Eric Riley and Nate Hammond came up respectively in time for "Red Orange Yellow."
It wasn't just members of the other bands that came up to sing, though, but various people in the audience and one adventurous wag did some crowd surfing. The Photo Atlas's impressive turn opening for the Dirty Few a few weeks back was noteworthy, but this show was even more impassioned and energized than that.