Andrew Osenga

Leonard, The Lonely Astronaut

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With its 2001-inspired cover art and Space Oddity-styled title, it's no real surprise that Leonard, the Lonely Astronaut -- the 2012 album from Andrew Osenga -- is a bit of a concept album. Like many concept albums, the narrative may be hard to parse, but that's certainly not the case with the record's ambition. Osenga sequences the album so it has a dramatic ebb and flow, letting delicate synthesized instrumentals give way to sprightly power pop or, of course, stomping glam rockers of the kind always associated with sci-fi space rock (think Ziggy Stardust, but crisper, cleaner, and decidedly less androgynous). When Osenga gets deep or serious here, he tends to trade in the kind of stately effect-laden march U2 patented around The Joshua Tree, but this is where his plainspoken persona comes in handy. He's not a rock star; he's a craftsman who takes his work seriously, and this sincerity prevents his pretensions from seeming pompous and gives his introspection heart, but the best thing about Leonard, the Lonely Astronaut is how Osenga zeroes in on a specific soundscape and fills it out with unfussy details. It's a major idea delivered on a small scale.

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