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Atomic 7

...en Hillbilly Caliente

Mint

The boys are riding again, cutting through town with a collection of seventeen songs (and song titles) guaranteed to tickle the fancy of anyone craving some guitar instrumental music.

Atomic 7 feature the guitar talents of Brian Connelly, whose clean and sparkling guitar picking (and song-title picking) was first heard with Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, that mysterious group of Canadians who provided the theme song to the Kids In The Hall sketch series. It's a jouncy sound, the sort of thing that makes you involuntarily nod your head. Starting with "Bury My Foot At Wounded Mouth" and on through "What I Liked About Lord of the Rings," Atomic 7 come up with 17 different ways to slice the guitar-bass-drums pie, each one sounding distinctive yet hauntingly familiar. "Kicking At The Ghost Of Ass" has a simple strolling-down-the-street sound that just begs to be played over and over -- the quick glisten of the guitar line fits in nicely with the rolling drums and bass. In contrast, "Daddy's Little World" has more of a pipeline feel, something you'd hear in your head as you're ready to tackle some monster surf. But perhaps my favorite Atomic 7 moment is "The Happy Fingers Method," which sports a jazzy vibe and fingerwork that will have any guitarist grinning from ear to ear -- not for its pyrotechnics, but for its cool and refreshing precision.

I'm sure that many will want to take Atomic 7, lump them in with any number of other bands who play instrumental guitar rock, and stuff them all in the useless category of "surf rock." But with their melodic (rather than riff-based) approach and Connelly's golden fingers (reminiscent of guitar pioneers Jimmy Bryant and Les Paul at times), the band has much more to offer than background music for your next hula.

Mint Records: www.mintrecs.com