Sound — 8
Atlantis starts with "Tomorrow." "Tomorrow" doesn't waste any time in introducing the overall musical theme of the album: melancholy punctuated by club beats, unapologetic distorted autotune, and sly production hooks. "Tomorrow," and the rest of the album, sit somewhere between familiar slick dance music and cutting edge new sounds. I must admit, my favorite moment of "Tomorrow" is the "autotune solo" that leads into springy flange sounds. I am a sucker for little quirky instrumental bits. Overall, "Tomorrow" comes off as an emo song put through a processor and then shined with a bowling ball buffer.
The second track, "Atlantis," sounds a lot like an early Gaga track, chiptune-esque synths and all. Although this is admittedly my least favorite track on the release, it has an undeniably infectious hook. The song ends with a strange little noise-scape, which I ate up, because once again I'm a sucker for little quirky instrumental bits.
I'm especially a sucker for the little interlude guitar parts such as on the track "Crown," with the ring modulator. The understated synth chug chords have a simple beauty to them that is equally familiar as it is somber. The distorted bridge section serves as a really cool release of tension. The outro serves as a reminder of this albums greatest strength: it's melodic hooks.
The album finishes off with "Laugh," which is a pretty noticeable stylistic shift from the rest of the material. It opens with loud laughter, and then yet another instrumental hook guitar of awesome. The flow of the rap is very bouncy and distorted. Midway through, there is a short interlude lead by piano that pushes the song into what feels like a completely new direction. This is definitely the most eclectic song on the album (and the bounciest).
The majority of instruments and sounds that make up the instrumentals appear to be synthesized in the recording program Logic, with various acoustic instruments sprinkled in. The majority of the vocals are distorted, and unapologetically autotuned a la Kanye West, with other vocals being that of the rap persuasion a la not autotuned Kanye West.
Lyrics — 7
Atlantis is much darker than previous GLFC releases, with topics of self deprivation, murder, drowning, sinking, etc being prevalent throughout the album. Songs like "Laugh" and "Tomorrow" tackle the topics of demons and being possessed. Paranoia clouds tracks like "Walks" and "Crown" and even briefly on the title track "Atlantis." Shouted vocals cover this album above the distorted singing and hard hitting raps that just etch in the lyrics even more emotionally. The track "Terra" deals with environmentalism vs. industrialism, an interesting topic compared to previous releases where most themes on those albums felt with relationship issues. There is room to grow, but this is definitely headed in the right track.
Overall Impression — 8
GLFC has released 3 albums, each with higher lyrical and production quality than the last. They make what I'd like to consider "experimental pop music." By this, I mean that their songs are in traditional formats, but with some distorted and "out-there" production quirks. Their latest, and apparently final release, is "Atlantis." It was produced completely DIY with relatively inexpensive equipment, something that frontman, Miles Winchester is very vocally passionate about. He is definitely part of the "bedroom rockstar" revolution. "Atlantis" feels like a hint of what's to come in the future. It's biggest strengths shine through with a promise of greatness. This record is catchy, it's fun, emotional, and is brimming with potential. While it is not up to professional standards production-wise, it's arrangements are hard to beat. With extremely strong songwriting and musical arrangements (especially in the hook territory), Miles and Co. definitely have places to go. Hey that rhymed.