Atomic Opera - Penguin Dust

Saturday 1st August 1998
Atomic Opera - Penguin Dust

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Alex Figgis

Atomic Opera have been around since the beginning of the '90s.  'Penguin Dust', the band's sophomore indie release, sees the return of the multi-talented singer/songwriter/musician Frank Hart.  Max Poindexter - the only other band member to appear on both albums - has been reassigned to skins.  Kemper Crabb, veteran former member of Archangel and popular HM magazine columnist, contributes his mandolin skills on a number of tracks, adding an intriguing element to the album's mood.  Not only does Frank play bass, cello and electric guitar, he also produced the album.  Mixed by Alan Doss (drummer for Galactic Cowboys) and mastered by Ty Tabor (of King's X), 'Penguin Dust' is an outstanding independent release that boasts some fine arrangements which are both well written and produced.  Frank passionately expresses some painful truths, which the majority of us would rather ignore.  Take for example "November" (.".it's better to fall/Than stand in/The junk") or "Thirst", where Frank wrestles through the shifting sands of emotion to boldly declare by faith his will to seek after the Lord ("I will thirst for you/As the wild hart thirsts/For you").  'Penguin Dust' eloquently expresses a heart unsettled by simplistic answers to the often difficult and unanswerable questions we all face.  Instead, Frank draws our attention toward the one to whom we all must eventually answer.  "God is neither Santa Claus nor a Hallmark card.  He is in fact all the terrible reality behind life and beyond death."  (Frank Hart, 1997)

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