Ashtar Command’s 2011 studio album reveals an equal amount of love for bygone sounds from the West Coast (The Beach Boys) and East Coast (Lou Reed). But that’s not to say that American Sunshine is retro-sounding. Check out the opening song, “Let the Sunshine In,” where a reinvented drum ‘n’ bass blueprint bolsters down a melody for robotic-sounding vocals to sing over. It sounds like Daft Punk trying to make folk-pop without guitars. “The Breakup Song” follows, providing a nice organic contrast with sweeping string arrangements and wistful female/male vocal harmonies floating above heavy-lidded rhythms and gauzy guitar effects. “Save Me” works in Velvet Underground–inspired tones under cool and demure singing that slightly recalls Leonard Cohen in the verses and Thom Yorke in the chorus. The salient “(Walking On) Landmines” juts out of the album’s playlist with sing-along melodies that build into a triumphantly anthemic chorus. “Blister of the Spotlight” bookends with electro-dappled dream-pop.
released October 18, 2011
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