Mind Out Wandering

Astronauts, Etc.

Hit City USA, 2015

http://astronautsetc.net

REVIEW BY: Ludwik Wodka

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/10/2015

Right from the first track, I knew this album was going to be special. It was able to transport me as a listener. The debut album from Astronauts, etc., Mind Out Wandering, seems to have emerged fully-formed and almost perfectly realized with its combination of piano and synthesizer merging to create a dreamy but propulsive sound. With beautiful melodic hooks intertwined with interesting chord progressions throughout, it sounds like this artist had been releasing albums like this for years.

Astronauts, etc. is the moniker for the band led by Anthony Ferraro, who had previously worked as a touring keyboardist supporting the band Toro Y Moi. Astronauts, etc. began as a solo project but grew into a five-piece band. Recording live in the studio and completely analog seems to have been a wise move, as the absence of electronic gimmickry helps produce the warm, dreamy atmosphere that makes this album so good.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Although Ferraro was trained in classical music, his sensibilities for pop music composition are spot-on. The songs can evoke hints of pop songwriters like 10cc, Alan Parson Project, and even a bit of the Bee Gees, his music still comes across as contemporary and fresh. While it is likely to be compared to contemporary acts like Toto Y Moi, James Blake, or even Chet Faker (for the keyboards), the retro vibe of the album will favor the comparisons to the older bands – and that is a good thing.

It is surprising that he manages to get such a full and lush sound out of just a piano and keyboard on some of the arrangements. While other songs also include guitar and drums, they never come to the front of the arrangement or upset the chemistry of the sound. If there is anything on the album I would take issue with, it’s the falsetto-style singing. While this works most of the time, it wears a bit thin at times.

Album highlights include the opening track, the yearning “If I Run,” the up-tempo groove of “Eye To Eye”, the ballad-like “Control” and the closing track “Upward Swing.” Ranging from moody ballads to breezy, upbeat pop, it all works together wonderfully and coherently. I haven’t come across anything out there recently that’s like this, but at the same time it seems so familiar. I found this to be such a beautiful and wonderful album; it had me listening to it over and over again for the sheer joy of it. It truly does send my “mind out wandering,” daydreaming and soothed.

Rating: A-

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