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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars

on 11 March 2004
Apparantly there's a noble history here but I don't know what it is. It involves Creation records & Manchester, so it's probably quite a good story but it's nice for me to bring nothing to this but my open minded ears.
The sound is a bed of rattly programmed drums and strummed fuzzy guitars with some surf guitar, picked acoustic, and odd bits of synth over the top. Pete Astor is your main man, with one of those excellent can't-be-bothered mumbly voices that occasionally flashes inot a soulful croon to show he can do it really.
It's the songs though that are what this is all about and shiney little gems in the gritty lo fi world they are. There's characters: mostly melancholy, like 'Joe The Astronaut' (retired) being followed by the kids of the town chanting "Where's your rocket now?", & the 'Sports Boy' reminiscing from his less active adult life. But none of them seem beaten, there's plenty of fight in them and they're more interesting for it.
There's great images in each song too ("me in my neon suit, you in your wings") that draw you in to these worlds and keep you listening to see how the stories play out.
Stand outs are probably 'Neon Suit' (probably the prettiest tune) 'Great Inventor' (top idea for a song, great pounding rhythm) & aforementioned 'Joe the astronaut'.
Comparisons are tricky, maybe Joe Henry without all the guest virtuoso musicians? But then the songs are very British feeling too, so maybe more like Robyn Hitchcock without the ... Robyn Hitchcock-ness. Whatever, I'm glad I took the risk, It's a new favourite.
There is more stuff by Mr Astor with other bands, I'm off to find out.
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