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Athenaeum - 2002 Hourglass


ATHENAEAUM - HOURGLASS (2002, ATHENAEUM RECORDS)
Mark Kano - vocals, guitars
Grey Brewster guitar
Alex McKinney - bass
Nic Brown - drums
Mike Garrigan vocals, guitar


Background
The year 2001 saw North Carolina's Athenaeum being dropped by Atlantic Records. One of a handful of bands surprisingly dropped by big labels, despite displaying excellent credentials and recorded product which were the envy of many. One can only assume the fickle behavior of such labels if the quality of bands like Athenaeum, Sugarbomb and Mars Electric can be dispensed with, yet utter crap like Tommy Lee, Handsome Devil and Beautiful Creatures can be perservered with. My god where is the justice? In Athenaeum's case, they follow a similar path to local contemporaries Far Too Jones, though unlike their buddies FTJ, they've managed to keep going, even without a proper label behind them. After two great albums 'Radiance' and the self titled effort from last year, the band return with a third album of material called 'Hourglass', essentially a collection of tunes recorded over the years but not finding a home on either of their official Atlantic recordings. The band prefer to call it their 'Outtakes' album.

The Songs
I must say I have a certain soft spot for Athenaeum. They have a shimmering quality in their music, endearing vocal harmonies, and a simplistic yet edgy guitar tone. Whatever label you want to put on these guys, one thing sticks.. they are sooo melodic, and despite being of a modern rock persuasion, they easily find a home here at GDAZE. Lead off track 'Lacy' is a great cushion of melody, but the coup de grace strikes early with 'On Her Way'.. with a guitar tone guaranteed to ride inside the cranium for a few days. The intensity is continued on the pent-up energy of 'Walk Away'. 'One Day At A Time' is a laid back tune that sees Mark Kano sounding like FM's Steve Overland.. more coincidence than anything I suspect. 'Banana' despite the silly name pushes the modern radio style to that zone just beyond melodic rock.. the crossover is indeed comfortable. The acoustic fare is best heard on 'I Don't Wanna Be The One' which melds the Hootie And The Blowfish style to The Rembrandts pop jangle. We go back into the woods with the traditional sounding 'Young Again', real cotton pickin' material followed similarly by the title track 'Hourglass'. Meanwhile 'Paragraph' is a lovely commercial sounding tune, as is the radio friendly 'Family Tree'.

In Summary
Fans of the band will have already snapped up this CD, and as Athenaeum are currently 'in limbo' labelwise, it will be equally intriguing to see how they get on in the future. Surely material this good cannot remain unsigned for long?

Track Listing:
01 Lacy
02 On Her Way
03 I Don't Wanna Be The One
04 Walk Away
05 Young Again
06 One Day At A Time
07 Family Tree
08 Banana
09 If Baby's Gone
10 If You Want Me To
11 Sweeter Love
12 Paragraph
13 Hourglass

Related Articles:

Athenaeum - 2001 Athenaeum


Athenaeum - 2002 Hourglass


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