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Bad Astronaut | Acrophobe | review | indie | rock | Lollipop
Acrophobe (Honest Don's)
by Tim Den
Lagwagon are one of my favorite bands. If I had to produce a top five list, they'd be in there (for further proof, see any previous issues of Lollipop for my never-ending praise). So I was psyched when Bad Astronaut, Lagwagon's mainman Joey Cape's new project (along with former 'Wagon drummer Derrick Plourde), finally found its way into my discman. The bio made several disclaimers about how this band was supposed to be very different from Lagwagon, but really - it's all about Joey's voice. And his hooks. And his songs. Oh God his songs! I personally know about 20 guys, not all of whom know each other, who can be reduced to gushing/crying infants when they hear "Bye for Now" or "May 16." Joey just has the certain thing that most songwriters wish they had. He's eventful. He's the explorer inside the power chords and pounding beats who digs up the warmest, most comforting notes. He touches you with the notes he sings, and he makes you wish you were in his band so he can show you "the new song he just came up with." Damn it, look at me... I've been reduced to a gushing fanboy by you again, Joey. Damn you and your brilliance!
Bad Astronaut is basically a more laid-back, darker version of Let's Talk About Feelings. There are keyboards, strings, pianos, and electronic drums mixed in with the usual driving guitar rock that Joey trademarked with Lagwagon. There are a few cover songs, and even a nod to Iron Maiden in the intro to "Logan's Run." Acrophobe plays like a concept album, with the songs echoing each other in structure and (sometimes) riffing, so that playing this thing from beginning to end is the only way to really appreciate it (if you were just skimming through it, you'd probably get the first impression that every song sounds the same - which was what happened with me - but give it time). All the melancholy ties together, and it's just... fucking magical.
You will love Bad Astronaut. You will love Lagwagon if you don't already. Fuck the overrated shit (Elliot Smith, Badly Drawn Boy). This should be the spatula that stirs your porridge.
(PO Box 192027 San Francisco, CA 94119)