Review Summary: Even if you don't care about the story of the Bitcoin creator, the bands take on Dinosaur Jr./Husker Du/Death Cab For Cutie combination should.
Somebody had to do both of the things Anthony Walker aka Astral Cloud Ashes has done on his second album, Dear Absentee Creator. The first was to tackle the (fictional") story behind Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of the Bitcoin and the second is to confirm that the Nineties music revival is on.
As far as the Bitcoin story goes, of course, Walker presents a fictional one, as nobody really knows (yet) whether Nakamoto is the real creator of the first cryptocurrency or not. Still, Walker himself is obviously, as he admits himself, very much interested in the whole thing and is trying to present his imaginative take on it without it being either too simple or bombastic.
On the other hand, the musical setting in which he presents his story is an interesting one in itself. The music of the late Eighties and Nineties has been much maligned recently, even though there’s enough excellent music to draw upon from the period.
Walker does exactly that. Picking his queues from the likes of Husker Du (later phase) and Dinosaur Jr. (“Reformed Heart”, “Ironed Shirts”) and combining them with some intricate changes of Death Cab For Cutie (“Old Moods”) and pop sensibilities of some bands that were part of Elephant 6 collective, particularly Apples In Stereo (“Dallas Knows The Reason”), he is able to come up with the essence of some of the better sounds heard during that decade with some new touches and musical views. As he puts it himself, ”I'm still massively into alternative guitar tunings and alternative time/song structures. I enjoy breaking up musical sections and taking the listener in unexpected directions.”
In doing that, Walker was able to come up, not only with a ‘refurbished’ musical machine that is able to carry his Nakamoto story (with or without an electrical surge) but also give a fresh and vibrant look at musical sounds that some are currently neglecting. Essentially, even if you don’t care much about his lyrical saga (he actually does a good job there too), he was able to come up with some exciting and stimulating sounds that are quite enough to make Dear Absentee Creator a worthy listen.