Atom Orr – Flotsam and Jetsam (Populuxe)
The brain child of amazing producer/multi instrumentalist Christopher Hoffee (vocals, keyboards, bass, guitars, piano, “and other such noises” it says here), with percussionist Matt Lynott (drums, marimbas, congas), Atom Orr excels at atmospheric indie rock with sixties and modern pop influences. Beautifully recorded, artfully performed, the arrangements are as inspired as the songs they frame. That said, wow, is this a diverse disc. There is a bit of an oceanic theme, so naturally there is a smidge of Brian Wilson in some cuts. But then, probably my favorite song is “Flotsam,” which at times sounds like a cross between the Moody Blues and Depeche Mode, before going all Echo and the Bunnymen. Opening and closing with vocal choir pieces that have a church like quality, the disc first gives us a McCartney/Costello-esque piano rock tune, “Rise,” before offering up a loungy cocktail jazz / rock hybrid, “Sea Horses Forever.” There is a recasting of the Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” that is a worthy listen, but truth be told, it isn’t as good as some of these originals. The sonic adventures continue via the rap/rock track, “Traveling at the Speed of If.” I don’t give stars in my reviews, but if I did, these guys would get an extra one just for their song titles. Acoustic-led “Until the Day” wraps up the music proper before a vocal workout that leads us back to the album’s beginning. Hoffee has churned out a multitude of wonderful musical creations with a multitude of different groups and artists over the past few decades. This new, excellent disc merely confirms his status as one of San Diego’s best songwriters and producers.
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Christopher Hoffee at Chaos Recorders. www.inthechaos.com