Atom & His Package | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Atom & His Package 

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Atom & His Package

Adam "Atom" Goren seems to be maturing--a strange word to apply to an adult who refers to Taco Bell as a "restaurant." On the brand-new Redefining Music (Hopeless) the Pennsylvania native's production sounds more polished than ever; if you take out the "de," the title is actually pretty accurate. But that's not to say this record will alienate old fans: though Goren's voice has lost some of its adenoidal edge, his music is the same speedy, cartoonish punk--think Bis before their growing pains, or the Descendents before Milo went to college--with a pop bounce courtesy of the band's only other member, a Yamaha sequencer he calls the Package (Goren also sometimes plays guitar). Alas, his jokes don't seem to have sharpened along with his sound, but several warrant a chuckle: in "Undercover Funny," about someone who's "only funny when I'm not around," he sings, "He does make me laugh in his own special way / Hee-hee-hee likes the Grateful Dead," and he breaks down "Seed Song" by crooning "I know you're waiting / For the ironic ending / I know you're waiting for the punch line," then chants along to a revved-up outro: "Well, so am I!" And a tune with a title like "If You Own the Washington Redskins, You're a Cock" would be funny even without lyrics. Still, Atom's previous CD, Making Love (No Idea), has the bigger laffs. It includes a conceptual coup, "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Lib"; a ridiculous love letter, "Pumping Iron (Fe) for Enya" ("I'm willing to do anything / I'll be her slave / There's only one word difference in 'New Age' and 'new wave'"); an insane piece of propaganda called "(Lord It's Hard to Be Happy When You're Not) Using the Metric System"; and "Hats Off to Halford," which congratulates Judas Priest front man Rob Halford for coming out of the closet ("Statistics say chances of being gay are one in ten / That means there's a 40 percent chance that one of the guys in Pantera likes men"). Har Mar Superstar, Q and Not U, and the Busy Signals open. Wednesday, April 11, 6 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700.



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