Painstaking studio experimentalists the Ataris are not. So when it takes them four years to put out a new release, you know something’s up. Some of the shit the band have gone and done since So Long Astoria: 1. walked out on Colombia 2. delayed the release of an album 3. grew their lineup to seven members 4. created their own label.
Apparently all of the drama has gone to their heads because on the new live release Welcome the Night Kris Roe and Co. sound glum (Allmusic.com actually used the words "lush" and "moody" to describe it). This saddens me. The Ataris are responsible for some of the most joyfully bad punk-pop in recent memory. In the past, Roe would not only deliver without shame lines like “I've got a bad case of broken heart/And you're the only one who's got the cure” and “These are the things that make me free/I feel like I'm stuck in ‘Stand By Me,’ ” he would also occasionally insert actual sappy dialogue from Ben Affleck movies. The effect was something akin to sprinkling bits of Muenster on top of slices of Swiss (Delish!). Let’s hope they don’t forget where they come from when they stop in tonight at the Middle East downstairs.