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Amid the rampant dick jokes and men-with-ovaries satires at Emogame.com, Atom and His Package is treated with relative reverenceand perhaps even a little sympathy. Maybe it’s because Atom (aka Adam Goren) seems painfully authentic: There’s nothing poseurish about his nerditude. He has a degree in neuroscience, for starters, and His Package is the collection of electronic hoo-ha he plays in addition to guitar. But more important, he looks and sounds like a dork in a way that would turn off your average Conor Oberst wannabe. Since the mid-’90s, Atom’s discs have steadily improved to the point where the politically aware gags and the
electro-metal hooks are symbiotic. He’s also learned how to weed out the filler: Attention! Blah Blah Blah, his fifth proper long-player, checks in at a tightie-whitey 13 tracks. The songs with the most verbose titles are predictably the funniest (“The Palestinians Are Not the Same Thing as the Rebel Alliance, Jackass,” “Does Anyone Else in This Room Want to Marry His or Her Own Grandmother?”), but Atom also gets effectively personal. “Possession (Not the One by Danzig)” and “I’m Downright Amazed at What I Can Destroy With Just a Hammer” nicely capture moments during which the carefree rocker/new homeowner has to negotiate a place for himself in the suddenly relevant world of big-ticket physical objects. The disc also settles the issue of where Atom’s musical heart lies: He comes from the Philadelphia punk scene, but his inner metalhead is a fierce child, indeed, and Attention! is at its best during its crunched-out crescendos and blast-beat choruses. In fact, if the folks at Emogame.com are looking for a spinoff, they could do a lot worse than pitting Atom’s digital avatar against a cartoon Andrew W.K. Now there’s an amusement that requires no dick jokes whatsoever. Joe Warminsky