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Album Review: Atomic Pieces by Port Rois

Port Rois release their debut album Atomic Pieces on 20th October via Sic Life Records. Named after the north coast town in Northern Ireland, the German duo deliver up a rousing post punk sound that oozes swagger and confidence. The two musicians from Cologne and Duesseldorf, take up years of experience in various punk and hardcore outfits and present songs with surprising ease. They are ‘Punks with an Archive’: Atomic Pieces oscillates as guitar music somewhere between The Sound (Fading) and Weezer (Giants), between 80s Wave and early 2000s Indie.

After releasing the EP Permanent Midnight in 2012 and several line-up changes, 2014 marked a new beginning. In the absence of any time pressure or money issues, Koesters and Hagemann buried themselves in their rehearsal space and tested ideas, structures, as well as recording techniques: Isolation as freedom. Freedom that enabled the band to define its own aesthetic. What makes Atomic Pieces unique, is its blend of transparency and noisy lo-fi. Yet, it leaves room for playfulness, expressed by the use of organs or saxophone (as in the song ‘Blood Brothers’).

As mentioned ‘Giants’ is heavily indebted to Weezer. Luckily, it’s indebted to Pinkerton era Weezer, Port Rois channel the knack of recognising a sumptuous pop hook in what is the albums standout and most immediate track.

Set that track aside and while the composition may ooze confidence, you’ve got a bit of a mixed bag. Tracks like ‘Fading’, ‘Haven’ and the indie swagger of ‘On the Inside’ are great, but then you have the title track ‘Atomic Pieces’ and ‘Haven’ which sound a limp and lifeless.

There’s plenty of potential here and if you’re a fan of Cloud Nothings or Hot Snakes this will be right up your alley.

AD 6/10

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