With their debut EP release, This Astro, Shoegazers La Casa al Mare have crafted a stunning piece of music. This Astro comes riding upon the waves of the music scene like a gale of fresh air, blowing away the scores of old, stale sounding indie-rock acts – and, more impressively, La Casa al Mare manage to do this with the tried and true sonic formulas of classic Shoegaze. There is very little that’s new on this album, reinvention is not the flavor of This Astro, rather it is working with, and perfecting sounds.
The wall of sound on the first three tracks of the EP give the impression of things falling apart, of a brick wall crumbling in slow motion, only to be saved at the last minute by an amorphous melody, suspending all the broken pieces in space and letting the listener gaze in and inspect each element. The melody consists of indecipherable vocals and a droning guitar, pitched higher than the rest. It’s an ethereal sound, at once chaotic and at peace. The first track on This Astro, “I Don’t Want To” is the perfect example of this sound. The vocals are sung in a tenor, timing with the melodic guitar to create a melody that might take a few listens to fully appreciate.
If “I Don’t Want To” is the stubborn child, the one who only pouts and reluctantly succumbs to melody, then the next two tracks, “Sunflowers” and “M”, are the two children eager to please. These tracks build on the same ideas set down in “I Don’t Want To” – notably the same beautiful wall of sound created by the guitars, but the melody is elevated and more direct. “M” is slower paced, and the chorus is an absolute wonder, it’s romantic and melancholic, suited for a pair of headphones and star gazing. The first three tracks of This Astro vibrate and hum with a primal force, like the universe hung upon a thread – or in this case, upon the strings of a guitar.
This Astro begins heavily, but slowly lilts into a, if no less sublime, melodic tone starting with “At All”, which feels like a Dinosaur Jr. track; the guitar tones and drumming sound like 1990s J Mascis. “Tonight or Never” is a slower paced acoustic ballad and “CD Girl” is an ethereal, spacey end note to an ethereal, spacey and beautiful album. This Astro is an album for Shoegaze fanatics, or just people who like quality alt-rock; it’s an album to buy immediately, it’s an album for CD girls (and boys) everywhere.
By Cory Zydyk