[sic] Magazine

Ella Atlas – The Road To Now

There was some mystery surrounding this release by New Yorkers Ella Atlas. The promo arrived with very little in the way of background info. Yet, as soon as the opening track erupted into spangles of surf guitar, a partial recognition formed. The chimes were unmistakable. It became quickly evident that both the guitar and us as listeners are in the more than capable hands of Stephen Masucci, co-founder of [sic] perennials The Lost Patrol and The Lovely Intangibles. Masucci’s USP is his surf-infused dream-pop. Masucci’s is the type of music we tend to reference via the cinematic lens of Tarantino and Lynch, combined with the aural bliss of Cocteau Twins and Mazzy Star. Yet Masucci has become so adept, so synonymous with his own sound that it is long past time we should be referencing everything else against him.

More often than not, Masucci is accompanied by fellow guitarist and friend Michael Williams. Not so this time, although the disc credits Williams for the artwork. He also seems to be always fronted by a female torch singer of some prominence. The Lovely Intangibles were voiced by Mary Ognibene. The Lost Patrol had two equally seductive sirens. Ella Atlas is no different with Tarrah Maria providing the sultry pipes this time around.

The universe that these two create together is familiar to fans of Stephen’s previous bands, literally so on a couple of tracks here. Both ‘Red Kingdom’ and ‘Horses On The Run’ appeared on The Lovely Intangibles’ Air and Numbers album. A glance at that album sleeve reveals a co-writing credit for a certain ‘Tara Mirah’. Our ‘mystery’ may not be solved in entirety but we can at least begin to join some of the dots. The music itself is as lovely as ever. Fans of the aforementioned acts will find much to admire here. If forced, I’d highlight the closing sequence of tracks which includes the frosty ‘Can’t Go Back’ and the dreamy melancholia of ‘Skin And Bones’. The latter has the vibe of a lost This Mortal Coil recording twinned with the gothic lightness of All About Eve, albeit punctuated by Masucci’s trademark Mosrite sunbursts.

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Air And Numbers