ASTRONOMIQUE - 'SHARP DIVIDE' LP
Embracing a dark '80s pop sound, Astronomique’s Sharp Divide has the feeling of a long-lost classic. The band understand a great deal about the period they're exploring, from the detached vocals to the incredibly hypnotic bass - it all works. Reminiscent of similarly focused nostalgia-soaked bands like Twin Shadow, their approach incorporates a bit more mystery and shadows. Angelic yet ghostly vocals guide this unknowable aura, featuring cryptic lyricism and a natural, gothic sort of poetry. In balancing these many impulses together, Astronomique create something that feels uniquely soulful.
Opening the album and setting the tone, 'Forefathers' picks an expansive sound, one that feels incredibly vibrant. The drums have such a crispness to them on the DFA Records inspired dance funk, 'Side of Your Mind,' and a bit of warmth enters the equation on the surprisingly tender, 'We Disappear.' The highlight of the album is the infectious groove of 'Losing Our Control.' Icy synthesizer riffs dominate the bleak terrain of 'Smoke,' where the group lets things embrace a tragic hue as the entire piece goes for an introspective tact. Tension builds up in a fascinating way in the ornate arrangements of 'Unspoken,' and woozy riffs add to the teasing nature of 'Bleed Me.' The intensity of 'Hardly Deliberate' propels it forward with a clear-eyed gaze. Ending the album on an epic scope is the cinematic flourish of 'Heading Nowhere.'
On Sharp Divide, Astronomique catalogs an entire emotionally wrought journey, doing so with the utmost of thought and care.
- Beach Sloth