Liber Abaci, the new album from Bristol based anarcho-punk outfit: Atterkop.
This album is a bit of an anomaly. There is so much ambition, so many ideas crammed in; it’s hard to get your head around. You can tell by listening a lot of heart and elbow-grease has gone into creating this impressive blend of hardcore punk, dub and ska. It constantly goes one step further than you are expecting and is really enjoyable because of it.
The sound is fierce and emotive, liberal use of harmonising power chords between dual guitars gives a lot of depth and the lead vocals are strong, raw and rhythmically on point. Sparing use of brass is beautifully understated in a couple of tracks.
The songs are tightly packed and relatively lengthy by punk standards, even when they aren’t playing with dub elements. There is an (unpretentious) complexity to the way that each tune has been constructed. Not content with standard structures, this band push their songs further and further to reach maximum impact.
There is a lot of range of texture making the album really engaging, Atterkop gives you loud thrashed blasts, that give way to tuneful dub meandering. What is really impressive is that these elements do not feel tacked together artificially- the two contrasting styles are intertwined in such a way that you feel the difference, making each more effective. The heavy parts feel heavier! The dub parts feel.. Erm… dubier!
Given this range and ambition on display, the production is all round pretty good. One problem is that in certain punk-ier parts, the bass feels a bit low in the mix which takes away some of the heft and can leave the vocals seeming a bit exposed. Having said that, this issue only crops up a couple of times and is definitely more of a minor quibble.
What is so likeable about Liber Abaci is that while touching on familiar notes, ultimately it is the sound of a band trying to doing something different and succeeding. They have not leant on catchy hooks but have created bold, powerful music all the same. This is a really interesting release and I recommend that you check it out.
You can grab Liber Abaci from a variety of labels including Riotska Records