by Chris Bryson
The second EP from the Heather Thomas led project finds ATLAAS’ dreamy R&B and soul-infused electro-pop with sharpened songwriting, bigger hooks and broader dynamics.
Pattering drums amid sonar pulses accompany Thomas’ soulful soprano on the slow celestial waltz of “Moon Tan.” Thomas sings of the relinquishing disarmament of love’s expansive thrust. Her high notes throughout the album ring like sharp beats of the heart.
The murky synth bass and pitapat percussion of “Sleep” expands with a twinkling aura and Thomas moving through weaves of elegant vocal turns. The slow intro of EP centerpiece “Stop Leaving Me Alone” takes glistening guitar and a percussive loop and opens them up to subterranean bass, spacey synths and rampant drums. Thomas’ expansive range singing of her desire for a lover to stay with her, the song’s peak swirling out with a frantic and stellar synth.
Thomas’ cadence intricacies flutter and flow through the R&B bounce of “The One Who Looks Down.” The song builds into jubilant electro soul that’s filled out with Eric Roberts’ sax whirling atop the mix. “Breaking My Own Heart” finds Thomas asking the question of why she does just so, with the song trailing out on a guitar solo that itself feels like it’s trying to bear its own.
ATLAAS’ self-titled EP is a star-born collection of heartfelt tunes that’s more diverse than its predecessor, and shows the band refining its strengths while bringing new elements into the fold.