Thursday, July 2, 2009
Astra - The Weirding 
Vintage space/prog-rock fans rejoice! Astra's debut record is an excellent throw-back to the wonderful time that was. The moment i seen the Arik Roper designed artwork i immediately knew what i was in for.
To lead you into what lies ahead, the opening track is five minutes of pure build-up. Spacey flutes simmer over some ridiculously rockin' Hawkwind-like guitar exploration. Like i said, build-up. It segues into argueably the absolute highlight of the album, the title track. It is in these next 15 minutes you really get a sense of what this band has to offer. First up is the 'Echoes' like vocal harmonies, as well as the melodic guitar work. Up until this point it all sounds like an early Floyd epic, that is however until the KC-like Mellotron, Brass & Sax take over and blow you the fuck away. Hell, throw in some early Iommi-like riffs in for good measure. The other high point for me is the short psych-folk piece, 'Broken Glass', making use of some nice acoustic Mediterranean-like guitar, which serves a great contrast to the rest of the ear-raping awesomeness.
If you're a fan of all the bands who did this kind of thing back in the day, you will really get a kick out of it. The production is a little dodgy, but i'm sure they've locked into this retro kind of sound and production on purpose. One can only wonder what this might of sounded like had it taken advantage of all the modern day crystal clear production techniques. Having said that, it most certainly kicks ass! I wouldn't have it any other way.