The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Greg Beets, January 25, 2002, Music


This Will Help You on Your Way (Planting Seeds) Combining the feedback and fuzz of My Bloody Valentine and Lush with the sprightly twee-pop of Kitty Craft and Dressy Bessy, Astroblast manages to be explosive and coy all at once. The Austin-by-way-of-Waco quartet's second disc jumps off the mark in punchy attack mode with "Conversation Hearts," before a quick recessional segue into the sparse electric piano intro to "North Georgia Experiment." Lead vocalist Jenn Kellough's pixie doll voice creates a distinctive contrast to the wall of FX-drenched guitars and mad-scientist keyboards. Though the drums could be more prominent on a would-be blowout like "Maladjusted," other songs like the longingly serene "The Lows" benefit greatly from the album's overall sense of muted intimacy. Then again, "Fall Out" is a swell enough stab at distorted pop-punk with an undercurrent of keyboard-fueled melancholia reminiscent of the Chills. Even if you took away all the effects pedals, the manner in which Astroblast crafts slowly building songs with simple but forceful melodies suggests a collective ear well-honed on the basics of classic pop. To put it another way, fans of the late Sixteen Deluxe owe it to themselves to check this group out.


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