The Astrocytes


U_Pairs_092.jpg Live Review from Pairs (Shanghai 上海) Live in Hong Kong!

Setlist:

  1. Thank You
  2. Champions
  3. Morning Warning
  4. We Are the Beautiful
  5. Jane

I am not particularly Kantian in my belief system – if I were, I would consider intention to be the most important part of anything. Correspondingly I would’ve been really happy with the Astrocytes’, because they clearly try to sound good. However, since I’m not, I just can’t be happy with the kind of generic pop-rock that they currently play – it fades into the background of your musical memory all too quickly. And mind you, this is despite having some very obviously talented musicians, especially the guitarist (who clearly hails from a classic/hard rock musical background), and an endearing singer. It just doesn’t gel together particularly well yet, and they end up sounding unremarkable and patchy. Which is really not the way it has to be. They use a few pre-recorded tracks while playing live, presumably to add to their sound – I’ll venture to say that they don’t need it; they’re potentially good enough not to need winding hypnotic (and annoying) tracks on CDs.

That said, the guitars were good on most tracks, having a late Eddie Van Halen-esque feel to them – they were especially good while almost-shredding during Morning Warning, and the epic sound they took on during Jane. The bass was consistent throughout, maintaining a Geddy Lee like pace and style, moving with a cool smoothness through songs. Their singer, as I said has a voice that’s clear, and with a good range – and despite a few missteps along the way (especially during the very high-pitched portions of Morning Warning) she was quite good. Her voice was especially good during We Are the Beautiful, after it had gotten a little ragged, which gave it a nice edge to help work the song into the less cheesy side of 80s glam metal (which was basically where the guitars were stuck). She must, though, learn to sing within her limits, as her perception of how high her voice can go without being annoying is incongruous with that of the listeners’. Happily, Jane was probably their best song, well-structured, having a mellow pop-rock sound that sounded more original than the rest of their songs had, and some good singing and guitars on it. They finished their set with a note of hope – if they can continue along the vein of Jane and find their niche, they could develop into a noteworthy band.

– Shashwati

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