Song: "Atlantic Man"
Album: Right Hook Of Love
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Though it is almost always overshadowed by larger cities that have been the mainstays of new music over the generations, one cannot argue the fact that over the past two decades, San Diego, California has produced some of the most original and exciting music anywhere on the planet. From folk to punk to more standard rock bands, there is an energy and a swagger that one can hear within these artists that is unique to that cities' music scene. This fantastic energy and raw, honest sound is at the root of one of the most refreshingly genuine bands within the current music scene: Wirepony. Though the band released a handful of EP's over the last few years, it is their 2010 LP, Right Hook Of Love, that leaves little doubt that they represent everything that there is to love about unrestrained rock and roll power. Throughout the record, the quartet brilliantly deploys a number of different styles and tempos, from stunningly introspective laments to some of the heaviest and most honest rock music that has been recorded in decades. Each track has its own unique mood, and yet taken as a complete work, the album masterfully represents the attitude of punk, the spirit of rock, and the soul of the blues all in one package. While the more reflective songs are truly not to be missed, to understand everything that makes Wirepony such a superb band, one need look no further than their 2010 song, "Atlantic Man."
From the moment "Atlantic Man" begins, there is an attitude and groove that instantly hooks the listener, and this mood does not let up at any point during the song. The bassline, played by a man simply known as "O" is perfectly distorted and demands that the song be turned up as loud as possible. After running through the riff, the rest of the band drops into the song, and "Atlantic Man" becomes a blissful sonic assault. Much of the power and mood on the song are derived from the fact that the song was recorded live in the studio, and one can easily hear each of the musicians playing off one another and feeding off each others' energy. The dual guitars of Patrick and Aaron Dennis bring a punch and swagger that leaves all of the current trend of artificial attitude in the dust, and whether they are playing earth-shaking chord progressions or dancing across the fretboard, their performance on "Atlantic Man" represents everything that makes pure rock music is enthralling. Rounding out the band is drummer Charlie McRee, and throughout the song, it almost sounds as if he is trying to bash his kit to pieces, as he plays with a ferocity and force that serves as an ideal finishing touch to the overall sound of the band. In the current age of music, most bands use endless takes to achieve their end product, but Wirepony's live take approach on "Atlantic Man" proves that there are far superior possibilities when a truly talented band does what they do best and uses the group energy to push a song to another level.
Along with playing a fantastic guitar on "Atlantic Man," Patrick Dennis also uses this song to prove that he is without question one of the most captivating singers of his generation. Throughout the song, he shows that there are few limits to his vocal range, and the confidence that lies underneath each word serves as the perfect final piece in the overall mood of the song. While it comes through clearly in the music, it is within the vocals of Patrick Dennis that the overall mood of sheer joy is solidified, and his performance is truly mesmerizing. From his crisp work on the verses to the unrestrained power he brings to the choruses, there is a wonderful sense of urgency that lies underneath the entire song, and the rhythm with which he sings presents a superb contrast to the cadence of the drums. Providing another amazing contrast of styles, while nearly every element of the song overflows with an upbeat, positive energy, the lyrics appear to be words of frustrated longing. The phrase, "you're my tragedy" is repeated a number of times throughout the song, and combined with the line, "you're so far away," one can clearly sense exactly from where the emotion on "Atlantic Man" has been taken. However, even with these lyrics of pained separation, Wirepony pushes the positive feeling through, and there are few songs in history that have so perfectly executed this juxtaposition. The emotion overflows from the voice of Patrick Dennis, and even within the first listening, one cannot resist singing along, proving the true brilliance of "Atlantic Man."
While the current smattering of EmpTV-hyped bands are continuing the sad trend of releasing stale, uninspired music, it is bands like San Diego, California's Wirepony that are keeping the torch of true rock and roll bright and high in the air. Leaving all popular trends of recording behind, the group used their 2010 album, Right Hook Of Love, to prove that there is a certain magic that can only be attained through live takes, and it is this energy and attitude that make the album far superior to nearly anything else released in recent years. From the crushing rhythm section to the explosive dual guitar work, Wirepony uses "Atlantic Man" to remind music lovers that true rock and roll is not dead, and that is is just as moving and engaging today as it was in its finest years. Clearly the soul and driving force behind the music, Patrick Dennis is without question one of the most talented and dynamic artists within the current music scene. His ability to structure the song into the amazing intertwined, contrasting themes that it is shows a skill and understanding of music that goes far beyond a majority of his peers. Both his guitar and voice scream to the forefront with an attitude rarely heard in today's music scene, and he is also able to bring an honest, simple beauty to the words which he sings. With all of these elements firing with absolute musical perfection, there are few bands within the current world of music that bring a similar sense of excitement, attitude, and a true love for playing music as one finds within Wirepony's phenomenal 2010 song, "Atlantic Man."