Four Songs

Astronauts

Four Songs

It’s been a good year for Astronauts, aka London songwriter Dan Carney. Debut single ‘Skydive’ went a little bit viral, reaching the Hype Machine Top 3 most blogged tracks and receiving over 150,000 plays on Soundcloud in its week of release.

This was followed by debut album ‘Hollow Ponds’, an expansive collection received with rapturous acclaim by those who know about this sort of thing, and gaining UK radio support from the likes of Steve Lamacq, Cerys Matthews, Huey Morgan, Tom Ravenscroft, and Gideon Coe.

Dan’s decided to round off the first year of his life as Astronauts with ‘Four Songs’, an E.P. comprising material which didn’t quite fit on ‘Hollow Ponds’, but which he felt were every bit as good as anything on it. It’s a mini-collection that further showcases the alt-rock/singer-songwriter/krautrock versatility and effervescence of Dan’s musical approach.

 

 

Opener ‘Only Son’ is the last unreleased song to deal with Dan’s horrific leg fracture (and accompanying hospital stay) last year, which inspired much of the material on ‘Hollow Ponds’. Simultaneously claustrophobic and smoothly melodic, lurching and blissful, and driven along by synth washes, string plinks, and foreboding, it relocates 1980s FM rock to early 1970s Germany. Dream-pop of the kind that, if you’re not careful, will poke you sharply in the eye and steal your wallet.

Lion Tamer’ is propelled by skittering layers of percussion reminiscent of Four Tet, with intertwining Fugazi-shaped guitar parts underpinning a plaintive vocal that unfurls into a joyous call-and-response coda, buoyed by Crosby, Stills & Nash-style harmonies.

The plaintive, poignant ‘Think On (2003)’ inhabits more familiar singer-songwriter territory, with an obvious debt to Elliot Smith, one of Dan’s musical heroes. The E.P. ends with ‘Death From The Stars’, a dream-like, pastoral instrumental that showcases Dan’s love of acoustic instruments and creaky dynamics. Interlocking open-tuned guitars float unhurriedly into the air, merging hauntingly with droning clarinet and piano lines.

London conceptual artist Barry Sykes, a childhood friend of Dan’s, has made a superbly quirky video for ‘Only Son’, while Dan has put together videos for ‘Lion Tamer’ and ‘Think On (2003)’ using archive footage he’s stumbled across (all links below).

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Opener ‘Only Son’ is the last unreleased song to deal with Dan’s horrific leg fracture (and accompanying hospital stay) last year, which inspired much of the material on ‘Hollow Ponds’. Simultaneously claustrophobic and smoothly melodic, lurching and blissful, and driven along by synth washes, string plinks, and foreboding, it relocates 1980s FM rock to early 1970s Germany. Dream-pop of the kind that, if you’re not careful, will poke you sharply in the eye and steal your wallet.

Lion Tamer’ is propelled by skittering layers of percussion reminiscent of Four Tet, with intertwining Fugazi-shaped guitar parts underpinning a plaintive vocal that unfurls into a joyous call-and-response coda, buoyed by Crosby, Stills & Nash-style harmonies.

The plaintive, poignant ‘Think On (2003)’ inhabits more familiar singer-songwriter territory, with an obvious debt to Elliot Smith, one of Dan’s musical heroes. The E.P. ends with ‘Death From The Stars’, a dream-like, pastoral instrumental that showcases Dan’s love of acoustic instruments and creaky dynamics. Interlocking open-tuned guitars float unhurriedly into the air, merging hauntingly with droning clarinet and piano lines.

London conceptual artist Barry Sykes, a childhood friend of Dan’s, has made a superbly quirky video for ‘Only Son’, while Dan has put together videos for ‘Lion Tamer’ and ‘Think On (2003)’ using archive footage he’s stumbled across (all links below).

Listen: