Any attempt to learn more about the background of Atriums may prove fruitless. There exists only a Twitter profile and Bandcamp in their name with no additional information with the exception of an external link on either webpage that leads to the other one.
Atriums is most likely the trio of Andrew Carey, Niamh Fahey and Gary Donald if their Bandcamp profile is anything to go by, but who plays what role is completely unknown. Also, from what we can tell, the group probably formed in Dublin but are based in London.
What GoldenPlec can undoubtedly reveal, though, is that their debut EP, “Tell Me We Both Matter, Don’t We” is comprised of a handful of bittersweet songs rooted firmly in contemporary folk (especially vocally, where they fall somewhere between the gentle, vulnerable strains of Badly Drawn Boy and Elliott Smith), but each adding some refreshing elements of ambient and electronic music.
Opening track The Butcher’s Apprentice effectively sets the tone for the EP with the lyrics ‘You cut your losses ’til they make no sound/Then leave them to rest in your burial ground’ whispered over simple acoustic guitar finger-pickings. Cheerful, eh?
The songs do carry enough weight to capture one’s attention, though, and the fleeting emotions that they convey do feel very real. The Swans Off Annesely Bridge, for example, is an ode to the penultimate day in a doomed romance that takes us through Dublin’s city centre, name-checking every stop along the way as the singer hums almost inaudibly about how he ‘should be waiting on you/you’re not waiting on me’.
All the while, the instrumental foundation for each track is simple but effective. The subtle chord progressions carry the emotional weight of the song as if the singer’s fragile voice can’t. Meanwhile the strings, synths and keys included are tasteful and envelope us in the atmosphere and head-space of the places, thoughts and circumstances we’re being told about and ultimately share.
Highlight A Million Sparks differs from the other four tracks in that it is a piano-led ballad that showcases the singer’s upper-register, frailer than ever. The most interesting of the five tracks on “Tell Me We Both Matter, Don’t We?”, it includes gorgeous, twinkling synth patches and a glitchy percussive section and during the song’s refrain, adds an almost extraterrestrial sounding vocal in harmony with the lead.
“Tell Me We Both Matter, Don’t We” wears its heart on its sleeve and wears it well, and is well worth the £2.99 its going for on Bandcamp.
Whether or not we’ll see, hear or learn any more from Atriums is anybody’s guess, though.