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Deastro - Moondagger

Deastro, Moondagger

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

RANDOLPH Chabot – aka Deastro – has reportedly taken the US press by storm with his new epic space-shoegaze LP Moondager.

The 22-year-old Detroit born artist offers atmospheric production values that are infused with starry-eyed melodies, ecstatic synth squiggles, and new-wave beats on songs about Nordics, toxic crusaders and geometric shapes.

He’s not afraid to have fun with expectation, either, as one of the album’s tracks must surely be a contender for longest title of a song ever. That’s Daniel Johnston Was Stabbed In The Heart With The Moondagger By The King of Darkness [And His Ghost Is Writing This Song As A Warning To All Of Us].

But alas his showmanship only gets him so far, for as euphoric as Deastro’s music is in places, it’s also a little too ’80s leaning and nowhere near as good as the likes of MGMT, Passion Pit or the numerous influences he cites – which range from Steve Reich and Claude Debussy to the Beach Boys, Depeche Mode, Johnny Cash, Sufjan Stevens and Aphex Twin.

Tracks aspire to the mighty… but few really leave a lingering impression for all their out-sized production values.

Current single Vermillion Plaza‘s plucky synth arpeggios become more annoying than inspiring, while the funky bassline interludes simply sound too ’80s fixated – much like a lot of music coming from the US scene at the moment. And this one’s supposed to be a highlight!

You can sense the early Depeche Mode influence on title track Moondagger, which does emerge as one of the picks, while the instrumental Pyramid Builder works in spite of a reliance on blips.

But the highpoints are few and far between and for an album that clocks in at such a trying length, the feel-good factor wears surprisingly thin.

Deastro may be causing a US stir, but in our book he barely musters an eyebrow raise.

Download picks: Pyramid Builders, Moondagger

Track listing:

  1. Biophelia
  2. Parallelogram
  3. Tone Adventure #3
  4. Toxic Crusaders
  5. Green Grays And Nordics
  6. Day Of Wonder
  7. Pyramid Builders
  8. Daniel Johnston Was Stabbed In The Heart With The Moondagger By The King of Darkness [And His Ghost Is Writing This Song As A Warning To All Of Us]
  9. Rivers Of Life
  10. Vermillion Plaza
  11. Moondagger
  12. Kurgan Wave Number One
  13. Shaded Forests, The [Gift Giver’s version/bonus track]
  14. Tree Frog [bonus track]