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Bad Astronaut | Houston We Have a Drinking Problem | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop

Bad Astronaut

Houston: We Have a Drinking Problem (Honest Don's)
by Tim Den

Houston: We Have a Drinking Problem (Honest Don's)
Just as with the debut EP, Acrophobe, it took me a while to get into Houston: We Have a Drinking Problem. The obstacles this time weren't the seemingly similar song structures, instead, Bad Astronaut's first full-length seems a meandering collection of melodic ideas bumping into each other mid-song and losing the central theme. But like most of Joey Cape's recent works, repeated listens reveals the logic beneath. Epic transformations which at first seem incongruous become natural crescendos, multi-dimensioned vocal melodies prove themselves to be many limbs to one body. Ah-ha, I say to Joey. You almost fooled me again.

Whereas some people find Bad Astronaut's material hard to accept just cuz it ain't Lagwagon, make no mistake: Genres and tempos do not apply to true songwriting, a craft Cape is obviously a master of. If you can't get into Bad Astronaut cuz there aren't any polka beats and shouted vocals, then you might as well ignore Radiohead cuz they don't cover Metallica. Wrong reasons, folks. Pay attention to the songs, will ya? And speaking of songs, even though opener "These Days" sounds like a minor-key re-write of Lagwagon's "To All My Friends," Houston: We Have a Drinking Problem is filled with skewed poetry sung to multi-layered guitar pop. "Single," by far the album's most "up" number, is a bombast of many time signature changes. "Off the Wagon" (dropping hints, Joey?) lugs some affecting, heartbroken, drunken power chords, while "The Passenger" sounds like a space odyssey into depression. Yet another beauty from Joey Cape and company.
(PO Box 192027 San Francisco, CA 94119)


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