Pete Astor has quite a history and his song writing shows it. Not only was he the main man in The Loft, but he had the same role in the magnificent Weather Prophets. His solo album career is now in double figures and he is a Senior University Lecturer in music.
The album is dedicated to the much missed, Pat Fish and there is plenty of reflection on loss. Looking to the future, but seeing your peers and friends pass on seems the theme and I certainly feel those sentiments too. I am about now, but your age and death does make you look back nostalgically.
I can think of no better label to be on than Tapete, a German label, that has built quite a roster of intelligent British Artists, thinkers if you like and Astor is certainly a thinker. The songs give the impression that we've all been invited round to his place to discuss the important topics and listen to his latest songs.
Astor has brought together quite a band for his first album of new songs in five years. The supporting trio have been staples of the UK Music scene for over three decades, Neil Scott on Guitar, Andy Lewis on Bass and particular IDHAS favourite, Ian Button on Drums. The music within is magnificently atmospheric as you listen to Astor's thoughts like essays from the heart.
His voice is gentle and rich, never intrusive nor dull. At times there is almost a lounge feel to the charms within. There is a particularly wonderful Bass sound. Stay Lonely is a great example of Astor's storytelling and Undertaker is a deeply moving song with double tracked vocals and a haunting riff. Soft Switch even has a Folk vibe.
But Time On Earth is never earnest. There are wonderful jolly synth riffs on both the splendid New Religion and the title track. Sixth Form Rock Boys is very Luke Haines. Then there is a big surprise to close, Fine And Dandy, a corking pop song that may just be the best thing that you'll hear all year. Highly Recommended!
You can buy the album on CD and Vinyl at all good record shops. The download is available here.