Pollution Blues
(Strong Sound, 2004)

While I don't have a single drop of Irish blood in my veins, I've developed quite an appreciation for Irish rock music since I first discovered Black 47 at the dawn of the new millennium. Since then, I've also become fans of the Saw Doctors and Philadelphia's Blackthorn as well. I'm always glad to find a new Irish band, or one with heavy Celtic influences, who can combine rock 'n' roll with Irish folk music, so I really wanted to hear Fathom's Pollution Blues. With songs titles such as "The Band Drinks for Free," I was expecting something really special. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Fathom generates a lot of energy on this CD, which is a good thing, but I was disappointed because energy is all this band offers. Every arrangement is alike, creating a boring atmosphere that I tired of even before half of the 16 tracks were played. The songs are dominated by a lead mandolin that plays the same melody over and over and over again. It's almost as if a rap DJ sampled the mandolin line from track one and laid it down on all 15 remaining songs. The mandolin is so dominant that the rest of the band appears to consist of nothing more than sidemen, and that doesn't wash when your lead player is monotonous.

Fathom needs to offer more than what they have given listeners on Pollution Blues if they want to gain any critical acclaim in the future.

by Charlie Ricci
8 April 2006

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