Friday, February 07, 2014

God is an Astronaut: "Reverse World" and "Spiral Code"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I've loved Irish post-rock band God is an Astronaut ever since I first heard their incredible 2005 album, their second, All is Violent, All is Bright. I continue to think it's their best, but there's a great deal to like on the other six as well, including their latest, last year's Origins, which I think was one of the very best of 2013.

As this review notes, Origins marks, in a way, a return to the band's origins, to its early inspirations. It also marks subtle but perceptible shift away from the sound and texture of the previous six albums. It's still very much GIAA, but it features generally shorter and more conventional compositions, and so in some way more accessible tunes. The emphasis remains on instrumentalism, but there's actually some voice in here as well, along with some bass lines, keyboards, and electronica elements that just haven't been here, at least not nearly as prominently, in the past. No doubt much of this has to do with the fact that the band grew from three to five members and so incorporated new talent as well as new instruments into its sound.

Don't get me wrong. There's still the same GIAA I love on the album. It's just that Origins presents in some ways a more varied sound than previous efforts. It's a blend of the old and the new into a solid, cohesive whole, reflecting what the band is in the present moment. My favorite songs represent these two poles: the hard, intense "Red Moon Lagoon" and "Calistoga," which sound like they could have come from AIVAIB, and the more electronic "Transmissions" and "Light Years from Home," which see the band moving off into new sonic directions without losing what made them distinctive in the first place.

Here are the videos for two other songs from the album, "Reverse World" and "Spiral Code." Enjoy!


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