AudiobooksAudiobooks

Astro Tough

Heavenly Recordings

Vinyl/CD available here

9/10

The excellent Audiobooks are back with their second (fuck somophore!!) album which challenges the mind with a rucksack full of techno, dub, trip hop weirdness and outright class stuff reckons Wayne AF Carey…

Three years ago the duo David Wrench and Evangeline Ling hit us with a downright weird mix of high standard low fi pop tunes with their debut Now! (in a minute) which was the springboard to this polished album of spoken word, trickily sprinkled with lots of clever stuff from the minds of Wrench and Ling. A journey through some well thought out song crafting that’s addictive and catchy.

The Doll kicks off the album in fine techno style, a dark number of spoken word featuring a little girl wandering the empty streets looking for a lost cherished doll. Sarcastically ringing 911 whilst trundling around the empty streets of Coventry backed by a banging techno trance beat that bounces hard on the re-opened dance floors. I defy anyone who doesn’t get hooked by this! LaLaLa It’s The Good Life is just pure fun. A Sparks tinged romper with drawled vocals that sliver into the keyboards. The lyrics are simple and funny as fuck: “And if these people are killing the vibes, we’ll have to go somewhere else. And if those people are still killing the vibes, we’ll have to order an Uber Excel” Excellent. The English Manipulator goes all dub with some cracking keyboard wizardry from Wrench while Ling tells us the manipulator doesn’t even know his Manet from his Monet. Ha ha!

He Called Me Bambi goes all acoustic with water effects drenched vocals introducing a smooth drumbeat which gives a feel of Beck in his element, yet Ling’s vocals are amazing and don’t bore like some of the spoken word shite doing the rounds these days. Blue Tits is funny as fuck. “When I’m on the sand I don’t see sand I see many tits” she states to a mellowed out layer of bliss. A real dig at men who ogle women on a regular basis thrown right back at them with clever lyrics that sting. This is girl power at full strength with some great guitar licks to compliment. First Move is just pure pop to the jugular. It’s like punk Abba meets The Slits with lyrics that again hit the subject of sexual frustration from both sides. Driven By Beef is angry as fuck as Ling screams and shouts over a hypnotic drum beat and electronic magic from Wrench striking a big fuck off match.

The gothic Trouble In Business Class is a stunning piece of music with warped vocals from Ling and a great piece of acoustic music that’s prog in parts with an amazing chorus that just gives you those familiar shivers when you hear something magic. Stand out track Black Lipstick is the best piece of techno trance I’ve heard in a while. It’s dark as fuck and gives a nod to Krautrock and the likes of the Joey Beltram back catalogue. It’s fused with every element of the best dance floors you ever threw shapes on in the early nighties of ecstasy hedonism. Mental shit that gives me flashbacks of those Tangled nights at The Phoenix next to Manchester Uni. The euphoric break that slows down before the headrush of that beat slamming right back in. You just need Farmer to end the album as a comedown from the frantic shit you’ve just witnessed. A cheeky nod to Perfect Day that morphs into a cleverly produced piece of melancholy from the ever evolving duo of Ling and Wrench.

A massive step forward from the debut and another album of the year to me. Weird, wonderful, hypnotic and catchy with a few dancefloor bangers that will surely make them clubland hotshots in the ever so near future…

Live Dates

Rough Trade, Bristol – 05 October*

Rough Trade East, London – 06 October*

Marble Factory, Bristol – 02 November**

The Forum, London – 03 November**

O2 Ritz, Manchester – 4 November**

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Words by Wayne Carey, Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here

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"I'm a 50 year old man, and I like it!" A music nut from North Manchester residing in Northwich. If it's good I'm on it. Most genres covered but mainly alternative post punk indie with a love for all things psych.

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