Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Curbing Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

One of the most buzz-worthy bands 1992 Ned’s Atomic Dustbin might just win your hearts and your ears over.

By: Vanessa Uy

Here’s a band that professed to prefer to be heard live every time this certain question crops up in their interviews. As a fellow musician, I agree that live gigs are a good place in which to start a fan base.

Ned’s Atomic Dustbin’s debut album “God Fodder” to me, is more than a mere consolation to their fans who likely might never see and hear them perform live. To me, their moniker is somewhat of a misnomer. After seeing this cassette tape copy of their album almost given away for free in a garage sale, I thought that Ned’s Atomic Dustbin is a 1950’s sounding rockabilly band like the Brian Setzer Orchestra in homage to the “Nuclear Age.” Instead Ned’s Atomic Dustbin are a very interesting mix of punk rock and genteel British new wave with progressive metal drumming thrown in on the blisteringly fast tempo tracks. I’ll bet their drummer will be perfect for my band, he perfectly compliments my guitar playing skills.

While two guitar player bands are somewhat dime a dozen. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin’s line up is unique as typical rock bands go even until now because they have two bass players namely Alex and Mat. The only other bands I know who utilize this two- bassist configuration are Cop Shoot Cop and Girls Against Boys. I’ve heard them all and thank God they’re not copying each other’s style. Regular subscribers of Bass Player magazine whose subscription extends back to 1992 should not confuse Ned’s Atomic Dustbin with Cop Shoot Cop (also a perennial favorite of mine), just because those two bands are the subject of the magazine’s cover story back then. And also they are literally poles apart.

Despite having the fuzz pedal of their lone guitarist Rat being set at a quite aggressive level and Dan’s frenzy paced drumming on most of the songs. The mood on “God Fodder” is quite cheerful when compared to their Seattle Grunge contemporaries.
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin as a band, are surely aiming for originality whichever way they can.

To me, this album’s cover art, sleeve note designs, and songs seem to cater the “college radio” crowd of the early nineties. But at this time, Seattle Grunge was on the rise and the growing perception of Ned’s potential “American College Radio” fans is that their pseudo Manchester (or is that Madchester) sound is becoming pretty staid even though their only competitors for air time are MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. This is probably why they haven’t gained superstar status.

Generally, this is quite a great album. I really like the way the two bassists and their lone guitarist go about their business in this album. They all seemed like joined in the hip somehow. But what strikes me as odd is that the pretty sounding reverb in their slower tempo songs like “Selfish” disappears when the beat shifts into high gear like on “Throwing Things” and “What Gives My Son?” Also, I tend to dislike rock bands that sing with a British accent. It’s ok if you’re a traditional English folk band using period instruments. If The Beatles or Johnny Rotten didn’t sing with one, it doesn’t mean that you should.

I’ve learned from my research that Ned’s Atomic Dustbin released a second album, but they seem to slip slowly out of the limelight after this time.

No comments: