THIS MONTH'S TOP 3 RECORD RELEASES
ASTRONOMIQUE - 'BURNING STARS FADE' EP
You probably remember Logan Andra Fongemie (nee Baker) as the keyboardist and second vocalist from Knol Tate’s perennially underrated Satellite Voices. Here, she fronts a still-nascent but already quite accomplished dream-pop band that’s very much reminiscent of groups like February from back in the day on their first EP, the quite likable Burning Stars Fade. Groups like this rise and fall on their sonics, and they’ve definitely got something to offer — floaty keyboard textures, for one, which is always a cool thing, and guitars that, thankfully, don’t just borrow from My Bloody Valentine but draw influences from post-punk groups (U2 and Echo and the Bunnymen, mostly, I’ll bet, but a little bit of late-’80s goth, too, maybe accidentally), disco, New Wave and god knows what else. In other words, this is a nice advancement of a sound that, at least for a time, was the Minneapolis sound and is easy to, you know, just steal from, which this doesn’t, if that makes sense.
I like the tunes on offer so far, especially the nicely driving “Pretend We’re Stars,” which boasts a nice post-punk vibe and plenty of pop energy, plus a pretty nifty melody and a hook that jumps into overdrive, and “Painting Silhouettes” which has a cool and quite surprising half-time-groove shift for the hook that adds tons of power to a moody groove. The only real weakness here is that the production is a little bit flat–Fongemie’s quite damn lovely voice often sounds way out front and not bathed in the kind of echo or delay that would give this stuff a neatly psychedelic blanketing, and there are times that the instruments just kind of lie there in the mix rather than leap out dynamically. I’d love to see them get with a local producer (an Ed Ackerson or Ev Olcott, say) who would know how to whip them into a kind of trippy froth that would give this stuff the thickness it really deserves/desires. But that’s all minor quibbles–there is tons of promise, here, for sure, and I’m really interested to hear how far they’ve progressed after a year or two of live shows and a bunch more recording. Another one to keep your eyes on, for sure.
- Jon Hunt, l'toile Magazine