Mick Bund was the driving force behind the British indie pop group Mexico 70. That group's trademarks were huge, cinematic choruses; sincere and catchy melodies guys like the Wallflowers would kill to write; and the achingly heartfelt vocals of Bund. On his debut solo recording, Bund has scaled back the ambition and big sound but has stuck with the songcraft. He recorded Astronaut Graffiti at home on an eight-track with just Rick Duce on percussion and Daren Harris on keyboards for support. The stripped-back approach can often lead to dull records, but Bund displays a firm grasp of dynamics and makes sure to vary the sound of the songs enough to keep things interesting. And the songs are great. "Indian Ink" hitches a Northern soul beat to one of Bund's best melodies; "Peace and Love" is an almost-funky ode to, well, peace and love; and "Sooner Than Later" sounds closest to a Mexico 70 track, with its swooning melody and sympathetic faux-strings swelling in the background. There really isn't a duff song on the record, and Bund's voice is beautifully tear-stained throughout. It overflows with laid-back emotion and hooks. Tracks like "Goalhanger" and the Smiths-like "Obsolete Beginners" are going to stick with you for awhile. The record is similar in feel to Robert Forster's underrated Warm Nights or Edwyn Collins' most recent records, only without the inspired wackiness. Mick Bund is firmly in place as one of the unsung heroes of modern pop music and Astronaut Graffiti is a wonderful solo debut. The only trick now is getting people to hear it.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra