Words: James Frostick
Band image: Barry C. Douglas
A trio of Melbourne-based music veterans have teamed up to form an exciting synth-laced outfit. ATOM, which features members of Crime and the City Solution, The Moll Flanders Band and REPAIRS, is premiering the debut single from its forthcoming record In Every Dream Home. ‘Run Out’ is the name of the track, and it paints a grim picture of the inevitable finality of our system’s rampant excess.
On Earth, everything is finite. Natural resources are diminishing steadily every decade, while our climate simultaneously degrades in lockstep with our rapid rate of consumption. As the temperature rises, greed increases, as if those in power are hoarding all they can before the levee breaks. Patience is finite, too. The sins of the elite damns the species as a whole, and those on the lower rungs of the ladder are speaking out. Thankfully anger is a resource with endlessly renewable properties. Channelling this anger is Melbourne’s ATOM, a three-piece synth-punk unit featuring members of some of the city’s greatest bands. Harry Howard, Edwina Preston and Ben Hepworth comprise the group, and today they’re putting forth the first taste of their forthcoming record In Every Dream Home (coming out through the terrific It Records), a dystopian vision called ‘Run Out’.
The track is a prediction of things to come and an inventory of resources running critically low. Push, pull, rifles, girls, boys, knives, lives, blood, luck – ATOM ticks off assets (both tangible and intangible) that the ruling class is burning through without consideration. The “oh, fuck” moment approaches, its arrival seems inevitable.
‘Run Out’ fires up like an unused piece of machinery, various bits of apparatus clicking and whirring as the mechanism slowly comes to life. Soon the system is online and purring harmoniously – mechanical percussion is overlaid by burbling synths, acidic guitars and alien keys. Once the vocals come in ‘Run Out’ shows off its discernible robotic nature – inhuman in tone, though not entirely emotionless. There’s a cold “I told you so” sneer behind every monotone evocation, as if all of ATOM’s promises are simultaneously coming to pass in front of their eyes. ‘Run Out’ is haunting, not only because it sounds so unsettling, but because everything ATOM is saying is true, and that’s terrifying. They don’t offer any solutions, but maybe it’ll help spur positive action ahead of calamity.
In Every Dream Home will be out June 2019, and can be pre-ordered right now over at the It Records Bandcamp. ATOM will be launching the single on Saturday April 13 at a secret location. Support will be provided by Ov Pain and Hemlock Ladder.
Album Cover: ‘Hyper Vigilance’ (Detail) 2012, Darren Wardle