Little Atlas - Surface Serene

Year of Release: 2003
Label: ProgRock Records
Catalog Number:
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

In the wide range of what many call "progressive rock" are so many bands that do their thing. And many bands have a very recognisable style. But once in a while you find a band that manages to sound different and unique, and Little Atlas is just such a band, and with their second album, Surface Serene, they have brought us an album that needs some time to discover all the musical ideas that are poured into the songs. The band itself is also a mystery, the website reveals only that Little Atlas was founded in 1997 by multi instrumentalist Steve Katsikas and released their debut album, called Neverworldly, in 1998. Besides Katsikas (vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar), the line-up is completed wih Rik Bigai (bass, additional keyboards), Diego Pocovi (drums and percussion), Roy Strattman (electric and acoustic guitars) and Joanna Katsikas (backing vocals).

There is much variation in the songs with breaks and melody changes. In "Surface Serene" the vocal effect of Steve and Joanna comes out very good. "Can I Find It" has a cheerful melody line, with some guitar riffs that have a Genesis feel, Hackett years. "Changeover" is my favourite track from the album, with nice percussion and a soft guitar solo, accompanied by a female voice and lots of changes in the melody. A song you need to hear over and over to hear all the nuances. "Honesty" is a very beautiful ballad, again with the soft percussion and mellow keyboards. All songs have a very original sound and only small hints remind you of bands such as Kansas or Genesis. The compositions are also balanced, all instruments have there place and that makes the album a pleasure to listen to. Of course the voice of Katsikas remains a matter of taste, but he sings quite well enough.

An original album from a very talented band that clearly has put their heart and soul into the songs. Little Atlas shows once again that progressive rock can still be really progressive and inventive. A fresh wind through progland. As Little Atlas is described by the band themselves as "a work in progress," I am looking for their next release with a keen interest. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Similar Bands: Kansas

[This review originally appeared at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Faceless / Surface Serene / Can I Find It / Changeover / Dance / Honesty / Salmon Song / Momentary Thread / Collapsing / Glacier / Bonus track: Shine

Steve Katsikas - vocals, keyboards, and acoustic guitar
Rick Bigai - bass and additional keyboards
Diego Pacovi - drums and percussion
Roy Strattman - electric and acoustic guitars
Joanna Katsikas - backing vocals

Additional musicians:

Scott Leamon - rhythm guitars (11)
Tom Vasquez - drums (2, 11)

Neverworldly (1998)
Surface Serene (2003)
Wanderlust (2005)
Hollow (2007)
Automatic Day (2013)

Live In Louisville 18-Nov-2011 (DVD) (2012)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: November 1st 2003
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 922
Language: english


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