The Asteroid Shop

The Asteroid Shop

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From the big upward-charging chords of "Destroyer" forward, it's pretty clear that Asteroid Shop bandleader Eric Brendo obviously loves his shoegaze-with-an-epic-bent, whether it was via early Verve, his fellow countrymen SIANspheric, or somewhere else entirely. It's a bit of an overdone field at this point, of course -- any worries that the future would somehow forget shoegaze have long been settled -- but if no boundaries are pushed, then the group's self-titled effort is still a bit of catnip for those so inclined. Brendo's voice, while typical of the withdrawn-into-the-mix approach, sometimes has a coolly powerful lift to it, able to make the anthems actually come across as anthems, at least on the chorus. A song like "Dandelion" especially nails it; if the swathed echo suggests the line of descent from acts like the Jesus and Mary Chain, there's also a sense of trying to reach out further instead of hiding away, a bit of 1980s post-punk epicness at play. In combination with some tight, punchy moments throughout, the result's a gentle but enjoyable tension between tripping out and getting some kicks, sometimes right down to a classic rock build and release moment like the not-far-from-Crazy Horse end of "Cold Blue Sea." Organ breaks and general wigginess interrupt the chilled flow, the sweet balladic heft of "Silver Lane" hides happily under the overall trappings -- and then there's "Ashes," which full-on ditches those trappings for a country-rock flow that's more than a little Mojave 3 instead of Slowdive.

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