" So Long, Astoria, " the hooky, high-flying speedball title song that opens the Ataris’ major-label debut, would be a perfect themesong for My Big Fat Greek Wedding if it were about the Greco-multi-ethnic section of Queens. Instead, it’s inspired by Astoria, Oregon — a town depicted in the silly 1985 film The Goonies. Yet the Ataris aren’t from that Astoria either: guitarist/singer/songwriter Kris Roe hails from Anderson, Indiana, apparently just 182-Blinks from Green Day, er, Bay, Wisconsin.
On this disc, the Ataris remake heartland rock as only kids raised on punk could, with three speedy chords and a heap of sweet nostalgia " for all those nights we stayed up talking, " as Roe sings in " In This Diary. " Paradise is apparently still visible by the dashboard lights. Before you can say Bryan, not Ryan, Adams, here’s " Summer of ’79, " which sets the scene with " listening to [Queen’s] ‘We Are the Champions’ " on the radio. But Roe seizes the moment, declaring, " Let’s create anthems of our own tonight. " And he does, with relentless, cheery efficiency. The supercharged riffs are fueled by Xtreme fitness and sports-energy drinks, honed to maximum guitar-guitar-bass efficiency, and kicked home with vroooom velocity by drummer Chris Knapp. Call it PPPP: post-punk power pop, for a new generation that believes down to its retro-revived Converse All-Stars that the kids are all right. And they are.