Athenaeum does not bring anything new to the music scene, which makes it unique in today’s music industry. The band’s debut album, Radiance (Atlantic Records), succeeds on the band’s simplicity and typical pop sound.
Athenaeum does not have a fresh new sound, but somehow, the band is refreshing. Instead of trying to be a musical pioneer forging unknown territory in the industry, Athenaeum sticks with the typical pop music formula.
Glimpses of other bands surface on Radiance. Athenaeum’s sound mimics the music of Toad the Wet Sprocket. The similarity may be because producer Gavin McKillop also worked with Toad. Many of today’s groups would try to remove the similarity, but Athenaeum uses it as a starting point from which to expand.
The first track, “What I Didn’t Know,” attracts the listener from the start. The straightforward lyrics of the opening track characterize the simplicity of the songs on the album: “I am shy/I never speak a word/And you are numb/From all the things you never heard.” The listener can enjoy the music instead of trying to discern the meaning of the songs.
The following 11 tracks on Radiance complement each other. The album has some weak songs, but it has many strong tracks that bolster the album.
Athenaeum appeals to a variety of listeners. It is the so-called musical connoisseurs who feel that every band must present a new, unexplored sound that Athenaeum will disappoint. For most, Athenaeum provides a refreshing comfort in today’s chaotic music industry.