The Big Takeover, Issue #56

tothedustfrommanyoucameandtomanyoushallreturn (ochre UK)

Charles Atlas could and should be huge. Not just 'cult' huge, but at least as popular as the godspeeds and mogwais and all the other 'post-instro' bands that reap indie-cred and acclaim. As gorgeous a record as 'Worsted Weight' was, 'To The Dust' is probably CA's most measured and powerful album to date. Sacha Galvanga, Matt Greenberg and Charles Wyatt forge profound epics of neo-classical, modern music, always with a heavy emphasis on melody. Tons of it. CA are master handlers of their instruments, evoking such powerful emotions with piano and guitar (and the occasional drum machine); even the casual listener will find something to love about this record. Try and not be blown away by the horns on 'Signal Flags', or the all-out intensity of 'Photosphere'. When the guest vocals of Odessa Chen pipe in (on track 4) it feels as organic and necessary as every chord change, every tinkle of each piano key......As far as (blissed-out) instro music goes..CA are at the absolute peak of the mountain.

-- Mike Pearlstein