Welcome to Boombox Blitz, an artist spotlight series showcasing overlooked singers, songwriters and musicians who are quietly taking over the world.
A potent, blurry mix of penetrating arena rock and juicy bubblegum, The Score‘s long-awaited debut album, suitably titled Atlas, magnifies their exhaustive sojourn to the top ⎯⎯ a disastrous, bloody and devastating journey through the industry’s muck and mire to rise victorious. “I’m never going to follow just because they so / I’m never going to let go, let go of this high,” they lurch on barn-burning opener “Never Going Back,” shuffling between folk, guitar-strung balladeering and earth-rattling Coldplay-style wailing. Not two minutes later, they offer up the album’s central thread, screeching over Led Zeppelin-fixated licks and bone-crushing percussion, situating themselves as not only the consummate underdogs, but ones whose destiny is to shake up the status quo, “Bang, bang, won’t stop till we’re legends!”
Atlas‘ cohesion is endearing, wistful even, and their intent is perfectly scrawled into the sonic sands, leaving little doubt of where they’re headed next. Their blood is riddled with every triumph, every failure, every unmistakable high, their hearts tattered, torn and stitched up again. “It’s time to break out, so everybody just scream out,” Eddie Anthony and Edan Dover rally, galloping with vocal distortion and more rhythmic-based leaps on “Only One,” cementing motifs of resilience, unsinkable optimism and that primal urge to prove detractors wrong. Throughout 12 stylistically-entrenched tunes, their message rarely veers from that singular path. “Feet don’t fail me now,” they belt on “Tightrope,” a noticeably more organic composition, before alerting “a revolution is coming” just over the horizon, further entrusting the listener to come along.
“Shakedown” and “Higher” ⎯⎯ containing the throbbing, crucial line “they try to keep me down but I just get higher,” a chiseling manifesto tattooed on their skin ⎯⎯ anchor the record with unruly cadences, their delivery often warm and inviting. A standout among a procession of rollicking, militaristic anthems, “Miracle” rises to the surface, pinned together with their most glorious and anguished vocals. “We need a miracle,” they look to the heavens, scattered with twinkling stars, for some kind of redemptive arc. Their story’s ending lingers on the slimey slither of “Strange” and is duly ambiguous. This is just the beginning, and they have plenty tales left to tell.
To be continued…they smirk.