Due to the terrible idea the city had of putting a parking ban in effect in my neighborhood which gets rid of about half of the street parking, my car was parked about a mile and a half away on Sunday morning and I just was not in the mood to walk all the way there with it being so cold out. My desire to go to Target was strong but my desire to not walk that far and risk having to park even further away was stronger. What’s a girl to do? Why not spend the morning discovering some new music. I reached into my magic box of random albums to review and pulled out Astronomique’s “Sharp Divide”. I knew nothing about this band, this album, or anything but I jumped right into it bright eyed and bushy tailed.
“Forefathers” starts off with a strong synth sound and a simple drum beat. As soon as the whispy vocals kick in, that strong vibe is replaced by a very soft yet powerful vibe. Logan Andra Fongemie’s voice definitely has an almost goth-dark wave vibe about it but with the upbeat drums in the back and the explosive distorted guitar sound, it’s anything but dark. Within this first track bands like The Birthday Massacre and She Wants Revenge came into my mind but, again those aren’t a dead on match in any way.
The second track, “Side of Your Mind”, is definitely one of those tracks that makes you want to dance. To say the beat is infectious would be an understatement and honestly within just couple seconds of this three minute song, I could be spotted shuffling to my kitchen instead of just walking to refill my coffee. An almost 80’s vibe, there’s something very old school about this song while still feeling completely modern. Maybe I’m naive due to being so long and having never experienced the 80’s but the walking bass line and the funky feeling guitar make me think of bright colors, keytars and triangles everywhere (think the opening of Saved By The Bell).
After dancing my way back to my computer, the album progressed into “We Disappear”. I loved how this song sounded nothing like “Side of Your Mind” but was still clearly a song by Astronomique. Definitely a bit slower and even a bit more serious as far as the tone and lyrics are concerned, there’s still an infectious beat to this song. This song make take things down a peg but “Losing Our Control” is there to pick it right back up. Still not as bright and cheery as “Side Of Your Mind”, “Losing Our Control” seems to split the difference between that song and “We Disappear” in the most perfect way. Think slow song for the industrial-goth listener, there’s something painfully beautiful about “Losing Our Control”. There seems to be a new sense of pain in Logan’s voice hidden behind the beauty of it creating a whole new dynamic in this song that had yet to be seen in the previous tracks.
The echo effect on Logan’s voice as the group kicks into “Sharp Divide” left me with a haunting feeling. This title track goes through so many different feelings in such a short amount of time making it one of my top tracks on this album. Starting off very dark, this song contains a chorus that almost catches you off guard. The tempo stays the same but the darkness that is set by the echoing voice and the haunting keys (or guitar, I honestly couldn’t tell) is replaced by a bright feeling guitar pattern and the voice seems to shift creating a much more sunny disposition. It’s quite genius what this band has done with this song (well and the whole album to be honest).
“Smoke” is the longest song on this ten song album but it feels like one of the shortest. The tracks kicks off with a very out of this world sound with bending notes and almost mechanic sounding effects in the background. Logan’s voice comes off as a bit more whimsical than before in this song but I think that’s because of the difference in the background and the image this song creates in your mind. A daydream song for the space-obsessed, I lost my self in this world of me waving at aliens as I flew through space and it was one of the best worlds a song has every swept me away to.
“Unspoken” seems to rewind all the way back to the dancey feel that “Side Of Your Mind” had. One of my favorite things about this album is that, although all of the songs sound completely different, there are repeating images and patterns throughout the ten songs making this definitely feel like a cohesive album. Every repeating pattern seems to be deliberate and it’s clear that thought was put into everything even down to the song order.
The eighth track, “Bleed Me”, reminded me of a pop song. Something about the vocals and the groovy bass line all wrapped up with distorted keys and a bright sounded guitar, this just screamed pop music but not the top-40 kind. The fact that I was on the third to last track and was being introduced to a new vibe and sound by this group was a very beautiful surprise. You’d think that by about half way through an album you would have heard everything a band has to offer but not on this album. The rollercoaster continues into “Hardly Deliberate” and the pop-tendencies laid out in “Bleed Me” are instantly replaced by that gothic/ industrial vibe that was presented towards the beginning of this album.
This ten track release closes out of “Heading Nowhere” which, within the first couple of beats, instantly turned into one of my favorites. A strong closer, this song had a very cinematic feel to it. A larger than life sound while still clearing being part of this album and being from Astronomique, this song left me wanting so much more and, in turn, left me playing this album over, and over, and over again.
I honestly didn’t know what I expected from this album but it’s definitely not what I got. To say I was impressed would be an understatement and although it’s not my typical cup of tea, I found myself listening to “Sharp Divide” a couple of times through before moving on.
My Favorite Track(s): “Side of Your Mind”; “Heading Nowhere”
Chances Of Getting A Noise Complaint While Listening To In An Apartment: 4.6 out of 10
Day-Dream-ability: 7.2 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artemis helped me out by licking the dishes in the sink for an entire playthrough of this album; Autumn sunbathed in my room
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 7.9 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 4.1 out of 5
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