Burning Astronomers, from Wolverhampton, released their EP, ‘Red Van’, in March this year. Rebecca Cullen reviewed it for Essentially Pop:
TRACK 1 – RED VAN
The title track of this EP is instantly intriguing; a warm, strong voice immediately surrounds you – it almost feels like a soundscape to spoken word at first, you don’t want to miss a line. A little reminiscent of Elbow, with dashes of Pink Floyd-esque experimentation – but you forget all that by the time the rest of the music hits – it’s Burning Astronomers; it’s their sound, nothing else.
“Confusion and torment were all lost at sea” was the first of many great lyrics I picked up on throughout this project. I love the poetic feel of songs like this, it really feels like your witnessing an expression of something meaningful. The beat kicks in just in time to make the song grab hold of you – you’re involved now, the melody and the rhythm urge you to stay, to turn it louder even. You want to listen again so you can learn the words and sing along.
“The universe has you so I’ll never see you again” Still only the first track and it’s clear this band have moments of real lyrical bliss. This song would be a great way to end an epic festival set – to wind down a tired, joyful, wide eyed audience, and make them never want to go back to the office again.
TRACK 2 – SAIL ON
Sail On has a great feel to it from the very start – it’s crisp, acoustic satisfaction; folky, but tempts you to have a good old knees up. Just two tracks in and I’m addicted to this voice and this vibe. The stop start style of the instruments in this track wind you up high, then ease you back down, and keep you enthralled throughout. Acoustic guitar music can teeter on the edge of repetition sometimes, but this issue sails nowhere near this band; the track feels familiar, yet completely new – you don’t know what’s coming next, you just know you want to stay and find out.
TRACK 3 – FOR ALL THE RESTLESS GENTLE SOULS
“He is too gentle for this world” is a beautiful way to start a song. What follows does not disappoint. The singer seems fragile himself now, vulnerable even – the listener/singer connection is formed here on a very personal level. I had to play it again, and twice more after that. Just guitar, strings, and harmonies build that perfect penultimate track for a brilliant EP, which genuinely shows off a range of abilities and emotions within a fairly short time. Great song writing.
TRACK 4 – TOMORROW, TODAY
Track four makes me want to walk through a field of barley and ponder the world. I notice the drum on this – a simple touch, but it brings the sound alive, seems to separate it from acoustic minimalism; it feels like a heart beat keeping me in time with the world. The swear word on this track sealed the deal for me. Just enough angst to show they mean business; they feel things, real emotions. I’m a fan. This track builds into a great dance along piece.
The Red Van EP is enthralling from start to finish – never boring, never trying too hard, but showcasing skill as songwriters, singers and instrumentalists. A close band, clearly, with an effortlessly memorable sound. Excited to hear more from these guys.