A little background first. Atomic 7 is fronted by Brian Connelly of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. Every album features a different rhythm section, but all the songs are written by Connelly, as far as I know.
The debut album, "Gowns By Edith Head" and the followup "...en Hillbilly Caliente" established a sort pattern that more or less continues in the third album, "...Something For the Girl With Everything." Every album contains about a 50/50 mix of country/swing and spaghetti western/surf/spy tunes. Invariably, one of the songs will prominently feature a lap steel guitar (one of the country pieces), and another will have a six string bass taking the lead as faux baritone guitar (usually a spaghetti western piece).
Still, I'd say "Something" is probably Atomic 7's most dynamic and subtle album to date. While the previous albums seemed to have the relentless energy of a hyperactive kindergartner on a Pixy Stix overdose, on "Something" they seem to have mastered the art of ebb and flow. Atomic 7 never strays too far from their formula, but Connelly manages to keep it fresh with inventive songwriting and an ear for melody.
"Junior Miss Chop Shop" starts things off with whimsical country piece that sounds like Duane Eddy at a county fair. "Ivy Rocks" is a mid-tempo tremolo-laden tune that brings to mind pistoleros grimly riding to a gunfight. In fact, all of Atomic 7's music invokes imagery from television and films - not surprising since Connelly's first real gig was writing music for the Canadian sketch comedy show, "The Kids In the Hall."
"Children's Letters To God" is an enjoyable but forgettable rockabilly piece. "I Regret Nothing" is a finger snapping swing song - dark sunglasses and a cigarette are not optional here. "Knicker Toss" is where Brian Connelly's obligatory lap steel piece. Oddly enough, the song sounds exactly like knickers being tossed in the air - don't ask me how. "Glow In The Dark Underpants" sounds like a forgotten Link Wray track played at double speed, with some surf and spaghetti western idioms to spice things up.
"Encyclopedia Of Self-Indulgence" slows things way down with another tremulous, old west-inspired theme. This time our Pistoleros have already lost the fight, and are staggering away in the face of the banditos' blazing guns. "100 Years of Mayonnaise" brings out the faux baritone in a strangely Fat Albert-esque tune that also directly quotes Link Wray's "Jack The Ripper" for a few bars.
"The Whirly Girly Revue" is another western-inspired piece, this time bringing to mind The Magnificent Seven rather than anything scored by Morricone. "High School Knee" is something of a departure for Atomic 7. The band's first ballad, it owes a heavy debt to "Sleepwalk" and "Earth Angel."
"Lava Devils!" ramps things up again with an enjoyable but predictable James Bond-esque offering. "Hawaii Kai X2" brings us gently back down to earth with another ballad, this time with touches of jazz and lounge music. "Thingmaker" is a down tempo surf tune, heavy on the tremolo, again with a bit of a spy flick feel.
"This Person Loves You Sincerely" is the band's third ballad of the album and of their career, though this one is decidedly sadder sounding than the previous two. This is the sound of fifties teenage love dashed against the rocks of cruel, cruel rejection. Brian Connelly is clearly going soft.
"Guilt Wears A Dazzling Chapeau" closes the album on a lighter note with a hodgepodge of country, swing, rockabilly and surf influences, swirled around in a bottle and drunk with bathtub gin.
The only difficult part about enjoying this album was actually obtaining a copy. In order to purchase it, you have to email Carl (firstname.lastname@example.org), their distribution guy, and tell him what you want to order. Then you send $17 (cash) to their PO Box in Canada, and they send you a copy of whatever you ordered. Not the slickest system for distributing music in the 21st Century, but I did have an enjoyable conversation with Carl about our favorite hot dog stands in Chicago.—