Record Review: Astral

Forever After
San Francisco, CA

“A dream that’s a little too familiar”

Forever After sounds dreamy – and for the most part, it is. It’s got spacey, reverberating guitars and fuzzed-out bass lines. And just like a dream, it’s a little familiar. But that’s only interesting in an actual dream. Forever After is full of great, elusive riffs; still a number of the songs seem composed in an overly safe manner. The formulaic structures often ground the dreamier moments of Forever After in reality. Astral are obviously influenced the shoegazers before them, but instead of possessing the gloom of Ian Curtis or Robert Smith, they favor the more optimistic side of things.

There are the outliers, though. “Dahlia’s Falling” sounds downright spooky, and “Walk And Talk” has a collective freakout chorus that jumps out at the listener amid the drowsier stuff on the album. Perhaps Astral’s strongest suit is the depth they create, especially considering they are a three-piece. The heavy reverb on the guitar and vocals gives the music an airy feel when played over the deeper bass, such as in “Not Too Late.” Singer/guitarist Dave Han’s voice also carries well, floating effortlessly atop the guitar melodies. All in all, Astral have made a good album, with enough melody to keep listeners daydreaming, though it may be forgotten fast. (Vibraphone Records)

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Produced by D. Han // Engineered by Paul Skibitzke and Sam Black // Mixed by Dave Han, Paul Skibitzke and Sam Black

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