The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - Fruit
Tim Miller 18/04/2009
Is this the credit crunch at work first hand? When The Asteroids Galaxy Tour's promo CD dropped through the door last December, four months before its release date, there seemed no hurry to review it immediately. After all, the band had enjoyed mammoth exposure via Steve Jobs handpicking their summery brass hit 'Around the Bend' for a long-running iPod Touch advert. Lead singer, Mette Lindberg, had presented her kooky cute blonde self on the new series of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. With so much time before the release, it seemed a question of when, not if, the band would overthrow the mainstream consciousness.
But, worryingly, here we are in April, and it's all gone rather quiet. Wikipedia advises their album is now due for a May 2009 release. Their website and MySpace page don't even mention it.
It's bemusing, because The Asteroids Galaxy Tour have all the credentials for a British summer success story. Their superb first single, 'The Sun ain't Shining No More' is burning with '60s influences, sounding like Duffy or (Dusty, for that matter) singing in Mark Ronson's studio, while the album opener 'Lady Jesus' is more a soulful, hazy funk prospect. When the anthemic bounce of 'Push the Envelope' is finished, built around a hypnotic progression of brass chords, it's been a very promising start to the Danish six piece's debut.
But therein those three songs lies the trick to The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, and, once rumbled, it's also easily overlooked. The constant nod to the halcyon days of '60s music infects the production of the album, its sultry brass arrangements and funky basslines somewhat overstating the point. With most of the tracks pitched at a casual tempo, while the Motown-aping and gentle psychedelia is warm and comforting it also breeds songs like, ironically, 'The Golden Age' (could they be any more obvious?); a trivial track with tinkling piano and ridiculous lyrics: “Sing it out loud gonna get back honey, sing it out loud get away with me, sing it out loud on a jet pack honey, sing it out loud and let yourself free”. The sort of track that Lily Allen would be slated for, soulless funk by numbers.
With the rumbling, sleepy 'Satellite' sounding like a disinterested Cardigans, and its weak, weak chorus ("Think I need somebody, a real somebody now, gonna need somebody, are you somebody?”) indicative of the sticking point the band have on this album - namely meaningless and repetitive lyrics - the arrival of 'Around the Bend' virtually saves the LP on its own. With more authority in its stomping rhythm, and a deliciously catchy chorus, it's worth waiting for. A peach of a summer hit, it promises the kind of response that made heroes of Junior Senior when they released 'Move Your Feet'.
It's just as well, because the Asteroids tend to sing about two things: good times, and the weather, and on the following 'Sunshine Coolin'', a loping, vaguely Kinksian meander, they sing about both in one. Which is drab. Luckily there's one more surprise in store, the dreamy slowjam 'Hero', whose infectious major/minor key switches make it one of the more intriguing tracks.
Maybe Fruit will be released next month a totally different prospect - it will be, after all, five months since this review copy reached me; there might be new songs, new versions, new sounds. There's a selection of great cuts already - the stand out 'The Sun ain't Shining No More' is literally timeless and incredibly catchy, and you do find yourself caught on different choruses and snippets of songs. But while that's great for lazing on a sunny afternoon at an August festival, as a musical work it makes for more selective listening, and given the standard of debuts already seen this year, nevermind on the offing, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour need more before setting their sights on the stars.