Atom & His Package

Adam “Atom” Goren seems to be maturing–a strange word to apply to an adult who refers to Taco Bell as a “restaurant.” On the brand-new Redefining Music (Hopeless) the Pennsylvania native’s production sounds more polished than ever; if you take out the “de,” the title is actually pretty accurate. But that’s not to say this record will alienate old fans: though Goren’s voice has lost some of its adenoidal edge, his music is the same speedy, cartoonish punk–think Bis before their growing pains, or the Descendents before Milo went to college–with a pop bounce courtesy of the band’s only other member, a Yamaha sequencer he calls the Package (Goren also sometimes plays guitar). Alas, his jokes don’t seem to have sharpened along with his sound, but several warrant a chuckle: in “Undercover Funny,” about someone who’s “only funny when I’m not around,” he sings, “He does make me laugh in his own special way / Hee-hee-hee likes the Grateful Dead,” and he breaks down “Seed Song” by crooning “I know you’re waiting / For the ironic ending / I know you’re waiting for the punch line,” then chants along to a revved-up outro: “Well, so am I!” And a tune with a title like “If You Own the Washington Redskins, You’re a Cock” would be funny even without lyrics. Still, Atom’s previous CD, Making Love (No Idea), has the bigger laffs. It includes a conceptual coup, “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Lib”; a ridiculous love letter, “Pumping Iron (Fe) for Enya” (“I’m willing to do anything / I’ll be her slave / There’s only one word difference in ‘New Age’ and ‘new wave'”); an insane piece of propaganda called “(Lord It’s Hard to Be Happy When You’re Not) Using the Metric System”; and “Hats Off to Halford,” which congratulates Judas Priest front man Rob Halford for coming out of the closet (“Statistics say chances of being gay are one in ten / That means there’s a 40 percent chance that one of the guys in Pantera likes men”). Har Mar Superstar, Q and Not U, and the Busy Signals open. Wednesday, April 11, 6 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700.

MICHAELANGELO MATOS