Divide and conquer features 'sharp divide' LP

ASTRONOMIQUE - 'SHARP DIVIDE'

TOP ALBUM: 4.1 out of 5

Astronomique is a band comprised of Logan Andra Fongemie (vocals/synth), Sean Hogan (guitar/vocals), Mitch Billings (drums/vocals) and Preston Saari (bass). The band released Sharp Divide in June of 2018. This thirty six-minute album is jam packed with memorable melodies, danceable beats, and fantastic delivery.

Astronomique's music mixes elements of ’80s new wave, funk, and some rock, to say the least. This type of music, which often goes by the name of synth pop, has seen a resurgence with movies like Drive, record labels like Italians Do It Better, and bands like The Chromatics. Things get shaking with 'Forefathers,' which combines atmospheric pads, a steady beat, and a driving bass. The song sparkles and explodes when the chorus comes in. I was hooked and loved the vocal qualities that Fongemie had to offer.

The band borrows some French disco and ’70s funk in the spirit of Daft Punk on 'Side of Your Mind.' I loved the groove and slight transition in time periods. There is another shift with 'We Disappear,' which embraces a number of staple moves from ’80s rock bands.

'Losing Our Control' is the arguable highlight. The groove and hook is just so slick. I have to give kudos to the bassist, Preston Saari, on this one - he really holds down the funk. The band mellow out a bit in a Joy Division post-punk type of way on the title track, 'Sharp Divide,' and perhaps get closest to dream pop (a la Beach House) on 'Smoke.'

The very well done flow of the album continues with 'Unspoken,' which is both funky and atmospheric. Blondie came to mind more so than ever on the glam rock inspired, 'Bleed Me,' while 'Hardly Deliberate' felt a little more aggressive than anything else on the album. The record closes with 'Heading Nowhere,' which is a little dark and misty, while also embracing catchy hooks.

I loved this album. There is zero fat in its thirty six-minutes, and it is packed with great songs from front to back. The ’80s nostalgia this album brings on made me want to watch Stranger Things, and in fact, I think I’m going to do that. And then throw a mini dance party with Astronomique's Sharp Divide pumping through my speakers.

- Matt Jensen, Divide and Conquer