‘Calling All Astronauts are a London based, politically charged three-piece’ reads the information we journalist types get sent to go along with records. Self described Goth-Punks have hit the scene once more with their brand new album ‘Anti-Social Network‘ (you may commence your eye rolling). We’re promised a solid dose of electro-goth-punk, but will we get it? Let’s find out shall we?
First things first, we open up with ‘Living The Dream‘ and already things aren’t looking great. There is very little that is particularly electro or goth, minus the vocals that sound a bit like Johnny Cash crossed with Peter Murphy, with the only ‘punk’ in sight being an almost pop-punk style, albeit it a little darker. This combined with some eighties sounding vocal effects concoct a decidedly unsettling affair, but not in the way that we would wish for. The song lacks direction, instead seeming content to just meander it’s way through the four and half minute play time it’s made up of, before fizzling out and into ‘Empire‘, an equally lacklustre romp through the motions that fades into nothingness.
Track three however, sheds the skin of the dull pacing and suddenly delivers some truly brutal Prodigy fueled, Pendulum style D&B breaks blended with some truly terrifying vocal samples and chugging guitars. ‘Time To Fight Back‘ brings the energy that we expected from the start and, although it doesn’t match up to the quality of either of the aforementioned sound-alikes, is dark, pound and taking no prisoners.
The break doesn’t last long though and it’s not until halfway through the album that we hear anything of note. ‘The American Dream‘ brings an infectious punk snarl, but it’s politically cliched lyrics bring the tone down significantly. There’s nothing new being said here, just a cry that has been heard many times before. The performance is brilliantly executed, but the lyrical theme is worn down to but a grain of sand from what was once a mighty boulder. ‘God Is Dead‘ also falls into this category, with its anti-religion message being as blatant as it is artless. Lyrics such as “You rape the future, your God is dead” sound hollow and not suited to a band who obviously have a strong message they wish to convey. It belittles the message that could have been conveyed if the lyrics had more thought put into them. Look at System Of A Down, who were both political and downright creepy for a better example.
As the album flows into its final moments, closing track ‘Devisive‘ (sic) is the main track of note. With some chunky bass lines, dubstep beats and some truly cracking wubs. It’s not enough to save things though, with more of the lazy lyricism being evident with it’s “War equals death” line being repeated over and over again. An album that had moments of such promise, yet so often falls into lazy lyricism, cliches and a lot weaker an experience than initially anticipated. A particular shame, seeing as they’re earlier work was often rather excellent.