Hailing from Long Island, this photogenic four-piece infuses its brand of emo with a modest British influence as well as a rewarding hint of '70s album rock. Touring in support of their appealing self-titled sophomore effort, ATAL's line-up has finally settled after losing two members last year. Vocalist Dan Nigro is still the central focus as the band weaves together a brooding mix of art-rock and indie-pop. Songs such as "Stab City" and "A Break a Pause" suffer their pretensions well, avoiding clichés while sounding characteristically pouty and solemn. Producer Steven Haigler (Fuel) instilled As Tall as Lions with some needed focus, streamlining the melodies and accentuating the band's instinctive pop tendencies. When everything clicks, which is often on the new disc, ATAL thankfully surpasses the generic nature of emo, creating instead a fitful combination of the Smiths and the Mars Volta, music that is introspective and infectious.
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