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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 27 April 2007
All the hype surrounding the Arctic Monkeys is unbelievable when you consider how great an album this is.

Consider the days when you bought a vinyl LP. There was side 1 and side 2. Neither necessarily sounded alike and the contrast of flipping over was always exciting. Astronmy for Dogs does exactly the same, albeit on your pod, CD, MP3 etc.

The first half has scorching melodic, summertime, rock pop songs. Opener "Setting Sun" is The Doors meets The Stones, and the quirky "Robot Man" is a reminder of the Beta Band roots.

There mood changes when the imaginary flipside occurs. "She Don't love Me No More" is quite simply a beautiful, engaging break up number. "Honest Again" is another stand out - think ELO swamped in strings and beautifully constructed piano riffs.

Beta Band were always the greatest band you never heard. Their remains deserve acclaim with this simply stunning record.
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on 18 March 2007
This is an absolutely stunning debut! Okay so the band consist of the remnants of the now defunct Beta Band so it's not a complete debut - but this is just outrageously good!

The Aliens combine Beatles-like songwriting and harmonies with a touch of Floyd-like experimentation and throw in a load of fun. This is one of the most uplifting pieces of work I've heard in ages. The single "Setting Sun" is a great opener and reminds me of the best of 60s music crossed with a New Wave/indie/post-punk (who cares about labels!) keyboard riff that drives the song. "Robot Man" is just as good - and sounds like something Lennon and McCartney might have penned in their prime. This is followed by "I am the Unknown". This is a superb song with ELO-inspired vocal harmonies (though much better than ELO!!!) tied into some great guitar and keyboards. Fantastic songwriting. "Tomorrow" follows in similar vein. Another great song tied in with excellent harmonies.

Next up comes the trip hop liike "Rox". Another cracking song. Completely different to the tracks that precede it and really showing off The Aliens range. "Only Waiting" sees a return to 60s inspired harmonies but played with pace. "She Don't Love Me No More" tones down the pace of the album completely. This is a soft, slow piano and strings-led song a complete contrast to the upbeat songs on the first half of the album and all the better for contrasting so much.

"Glover" is an 8 minute-long track that shows off The Aliens' experimental side. There are bits of allsorts here, parts of it are mainstream songs and rhythms but there are interruptions of background speaking straight out of Pink Floyd. In fact this track seems to owe a large debt to Barrett-era Floyd. "Honest Again" is a piece of superior soft rock which plays with the same harmonies that were so successful on the first half of the album.

Then comes "Happy Song". This is perhaps the weakest track on the album. Yes it's fun but after a while it does get irritating! It does though exemplify the upbeat nature of this album. It's a great record for release in the summer. The album closes with the lengthy and more experimental "Caravan" which again showcsaes The Aliens' range.

This is a fantastic album. In a year which already has two outstanding releases ('Neon Bible' and 'Grinderman' in my opinion) 'Astronomy for Dogs' is quite possibly the best album release so far of 2007. people have raved about The Shins and how they'll make it big this year but on the strength of 'Wincing the Night Away' I'd say they won't. This will appeal to the same audience who like The Shins but it's a MILLION times better. Consistent and edgy as well as being filled with great tunes. (9/10)
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on 1 April 2007
For me this is one of the best albums I have heard this year. It is full of lush catchy tunes. Previous reviewers have pointed out the links to the Beta Band and there are similarities. However, the production is a bit more polished and the album seems more complete. The Aliens have managed to pull their influences from the 60s ( "Setting Sun" has definitely borrowed from the Pretty Things "S.F. Sorrow" ) and 70s together to create a joyous album with current sensibilities. I doubt anyone could listen to "I am unknown" without feeling uplifted and happy. Hopefully this is the first of many excellent albums
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on 12 July 2007
"Not going back, down on the track, you gotta get down now"

Saw them in the Thekla in Bristol a few weeks back - dragged a mate along after explaining that it will be as good as the Beta Band farewell gig we witnessed a few years previous. He now reminds me of the band who did an encore reminiscent of Primal Scream, Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays - all distilled into one little jar on jam. Beta Band? Better Band.

Follow this with an euphoric Glastonbury ( I AM the Robot Man ;)) and I still can't get enough.

Play me a more original album this year and I will smoke it.

Stand out tracks on an outstanding album - Robot Man and Rox

Thankyou and goodnight.
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on 29 March 2007
Fabulous album...so glad they have got it together again and with such style, beauty, elegance and intelligence. Beta Band were one of the most underated bands, but selfishly i quite liked it that way, i would hate it if they reformed to sell their soul and become the next big thing. To me there are sounds of early and late Beatles, Stone Roses, Duran Duran(?), even the Happy Mondays...'if' i have any critisism, it is that they have a bit less quirkiness than the three e.p's and heroes to zeros, i always liked it when they went off on a tangent and were a bit less accessible (hence only the 4 stars), but hey i'm certainly not complaining, just nice to see them back on track...just quirk the next one up and please don't slide into pop
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on 2 August 2007
Like many people I shed tears of sorrow when the Betas split, possibly the best unknown band from Britain ever, so it was geat to hear that a few of the old and very old Betas where forming the Aliens. This is a superb album that steers well and truly clear of any current trends and is an amalgamation of various musical influences. Naturally there is a slight comparison to the Beta Band, it would be hard for this album not to have any of there earlier sound, but also in the mix are the Beatles, Beach Boys, some Latin, Electro and Bowie. Rox is the standout track along with the beutiful 'She don't love me no more'. Basically this is ace and any fans of the Betas are going to adore it and so will people who have never heard of he Beta Band. The Aliens have landed and it's about bloody time. Top Marks
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VINE VOICEon 4 March 2010
I have to confess I only got into The Beta Band at Hots Shots II, so my knowledge of their early work is somewhat lacking. However if Astonomy for Dogs is any guide then I will be doing a great deal of investigation.

The songs are strong throughout, varied with a heavy emphasis on quality song writing that pushes back the boundaries of pop towards psychadelia and perhaps a slight leaning of electronica. It kicks off in style with Setting Sun, which is a strong fave of mine and then heads off in a meandering path with peaks including Happy SOng, She Dont Love Me No More and Honest Again, which is simply stunning.

There is definitely a feeling of Beta Band in here, but with plenty extra too.

A very good album indeed!
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on 26 May 2007
I first heard the Aliens single on the Rob da Bank show months ago, and what I heard didn't convince me to rush out and buy the album. However, the other reviews on this page "best album 2007", "the album the beta band should have made" etc. led me to think I may have been a bit hasty. And I was - this is a good album, certainly superior to the Lone Pigeon offerings Concubine Rice and Sccchhooozzmiii. It has the definite mark of Anderson, which seems to be a bit more wilfully chaotic than the Beta Band sound judging by his other stuff. The only disappointment from my point of view is the fact that this is not "the album the Beta Band should have made" as I had been led to believe, and in the search for that Holy Grail of an album, disappointments are hard to take. Anyway, that's all, if you've read this far, you might be interested enough in my recommendation for Steve Mason's King Biscuit Time albums, especially the No Style EP which I think come closest to the Three EPs so far. Happy listening...
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on 6 July 2014
This album is brilliant fun from start to finish. Maybe not exactly groundbreaking - lots of influences worn merrily on sleeve - but who cares when they're clearly enjoying themselves so much?
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on 27 March 2007
Great come-back album from the remains of the Beta Band, who were criminally underrated and sadly disbanded a while back. If I have a criticism it's one leveled more at the reviews i've read and not directly at the album itself which is a corker!- The early Pink Floyd (Barett) references so often mentioned are really not valid - I found much more of a SYD connection with fellow Scots band The Fast Camels' new album which is also well worth seeking out if you like this.
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