With Juliana Theory, Further Seems Forever and Yellowcard
It's fitting that the Ataris' major-label debut, So Long, Astoria, contains a souped-up cover of Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer." After all, Henley and the Ataris share an affection for sun-soaked California-as-metaphor songwriting, though Ataris frontman Kris Roe sees a Black Flag decal on his Cadillac rather than Henley's Deadhead sticker. The bulk of Astoria follows a propulsive pop blueprint to the letter (peppy progressions, hook-a-second choruses, lyrics about how these are the best days of our lives) but tempers these shopworn instincts with flourishes of toothy sweetness. Having issued a handful of well-received indie releases on Kung Fu and Fat Wreck Chords, the quartet has signed with the big leagues, typically the kiss of death for a mall-punk band. With continued evolution, however, these Santa Barbara desperadoes might just have what it takes to keep their room at the Hotel California.