God Is an Astronaut
Ghost Tapes #10


3.0
good

Review

by While She Sleeps: [in the back] STAFF
February 17th, 2021 | 74 replies


Release Date: 02/12/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “You’re an Astronaut, God,” decried three blokes from Ireland. “I’m a what!?” replied God.

You’d think he would’ve got the message by now, wouldn’t you? Alas, no. After almost two decades and nine full-length releases, determined post-rock three-piece God Is An Astronaut continue to move heaven and earth via an almighty clamouring of crescendos in an attempt to convey their rather simple message to the man upstairs.

Ghost Tapes #10 is their latest straightforward, no nonsense slowburner which -- despite all its many bells, whistles and other rather flashy features -- sounds strikingly similar to all the other straightforward, no nonsense slowburners that constitute their now straightforward, no nonsense discography. Yes, yes, I know -- the "post-rock is dead" line of criticism has become a cloying cliché, so much so that expounding upon the clichéd nature of said cliché can itself feel clichéd by proxy -- but, despite its obviousness, the point still stands: for all of Ghost Tapes #10’s apparent epicness, there's very little about the trio’s latest take on the creatively-bereft build-and-release formula to justify listening to it over the dozens of superior records that do exactly the same thing.

To avoid underselling Ghost Tapes #10, let me start over. The LP's second track, "Burial", is phenomenal. Lushous piano keys lay the foundation, shortly trampled underfoot by the distorted chugging that inevitably follows, joined swiftly thereafter by a joyous barrage of reverb-laden guitar melodies and the occasional synthetic flourish. It is, I shit you not, quite good. So too are “Adrift” and “In Flux”, the former kicking the record off with booming, dissonant riffage that crumbles into spaced-out ambience, whilst the latter shifts things up yet another gear into one of the most violently invigorating musical movements the band have pulled off to date. Why then, when all the usual post-rockian boxes appear to be ticked, does Ghost Tapes #10 feel quite so hollow (hint: see para 2)? That's right! Simply put, we've heard it all before.

The ground Ghost Tapes #10 retreads is so well-trodden at this point ('keep off the grass' signs clearly unheeded) so as to have become a boggy mess, sucking the life and colour out of the compositions of those who dare to venture in its general direction. Niels, Torsten and Lloyd wade their way through the muck on cuts like "Fade" and "Barren Trees" to no avail, the resultant tracks feeling absent of life and devoid of character as they rehash tired genre trope after tired genre trope. To outright dismiss it as colour-by-numbers instrumental tosh would probably be a touch too harsh, but not entirely unfair, given how often Ghost Tapes #10 feels like a slightly heavier, slightly more concise and slightly less interesting reimagining of their earlier, better works. The urgency and graceful simplicity of their self-titled LP and the much revered All Is Violent, All Is Bright is simply absent from their latest odyssey, and whilst nothing about Ghost Tapes #10 is inherently bad, achieving the less-than-lofty status of okay in a genre as bloated as theirs' simply doesn't cut the mustard anymore.

If you adore kinda spacey, kinda ethereal, kinda riff-y instrumental rock, then you may well adore Ghost Tapes #10. Clocking in at a lean 37 minutes, it’s by no means an unreasonable drain on one's time, particularly when compared to what the genre can typically demand of its listeners (yes I’m looking at you, Godspeed, please put down your skinny fists). If, however, both Epitaph and Helios / Erebus failed to rekindle your passion for the trio’s particular take on cacophonic climaxes, then perhaps stick with their 2005 opus. God may still be an astronaut, but it’s about time he found some new realms to explore.



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user ratings (67)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
parksungjoon
February 17th 2021


29679 Comments


i really want to know if theres some kind of clause somewhere that says contrib and staff reviews have to have a score thats not too low compared to the avg

Digging: Make a Change...Kill Yourself - II

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2021


7113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i just don't like being mean im sorry



i can rate you a 1.5 if you would like?

parksungjoon
February 17th 2021


29679 Comments


thats also too high probably

parksungjoon
February 17th 2021


29679 Comments


review is quality :]

IsolatedSymmetry
February 17th 2021


31 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, you captured my sentiments pretty well. I still rated it decently because I am weak and have a soft spot for post rock, even the mediocre kind. But yeah, these tracks all sound like really familiar territory with some beautiful moments sprinkled here and there.

DarkNoctus
February 17th 2021


11463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's a bit of a shame because 'epitaph' sounded so fresh for them. this is a step back, albeit still an enjoyable album.



i will add this is their best production yet - sounds stunning

Digging: Kauan - Ice Fleet

LunaticSoul
February 17th 2021


1668 Comments


I was so taken aback by the first track, basic Russian Circles riffs (or any other 'harder' post-rock band) for half of it, I don't know if I want to hear all of it, then I will, I mean it's God is an Astronaut, but bummer so far

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2021


7113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cheers boyos



yeah i got big Russian Circles vibes from parts of this too.



production pops too, though tbh i think i prefer their earlier stuff on that front as well. less crisp but more dynamic/lush to me idk.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2021


35011 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lmao ben you are being nice again and giving yourself excuses to not be nice and it hurts my soul!! drop some 1s and murder a few artists! fun fun rev, v relatable and nicely expressed. will probs skipt this, but i'll pour one out for climaxcore this weekend. some points, if helpful:



"the "post-rock is dead" line of criticism has become a cloyingly cliché, so much so that expounding upon the clichéd nature of said cliché can itself feel clichéd by proxy"



adverb adj slamjam! but more importantly, imma agree with pt.2 of this clause big time ;] post-rock is dead, boi! hammer in that nail quicksharp and get on with the autopsy!!



"refurb-laden guitar melodies"



if this isn't a typo (and also if it is), it is my new favourite thing)



"most violently invigorating musical movements"



'musical' in a muzak review always feels a lil moot unless there's a Big reason for it imo



Digging: Xiu Xiu - OH NO

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2021


7113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol tnx johnny bb, will fix [tho i may keep the 'musical' as i like alliteration soz]



i will try be mean more often i guess. gimme some of your fave artists and lemme have at 'em

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2021


35011 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

alliteration a-a-a-a-achoo



plz pick any of the artists in my avi bam bam off u go!

Toondude10
February 17th 2021


14462 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

love the summary haha



review pretty much sums up my thoughts on this, good job

WalrusTusk
February 17th 2021


827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

In your 4th paragraph you write in parenthesis "Keep of the grass" instead of "Keep off the grass."



I'm gonna spin this again today. I remember liking parts but I'm wondering if I should just go back into their discography to get my fix for them.

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2021


7113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ta Walrus. well well i am full of typos today, oh dear...



tbf just jam All Is Violent, All Is Bright.

DarkNoctus
February 17th 2021


11463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

barren trees is a jam

Project
February 17th 2021


4761 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

love this review, and agree that the band has kinda run out of gas



All is Violent is still good, and I'm still a sucker for Age of the Fifth Sun which has some of the best climaxes in their discog...but yeah this is an album of 3.5 tracks that are all 3.5s for the same reasons, so the album is worse than the sum of its parts

Digging: half/cut - Salt an Atlas

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
February 17th 2021


12654 Comments


This is what the peak of post rock has become I guess: good, but unremarkable, and done before. Shame.

I feel like bands need to focus more on the journey as opposed to the crescendo. Everyone knows how a track is going to end, as the climax is inevitable in a lot of cases in this format. The adventure to reach it is where a group can get unpredictable, and I haven't really heard anyone trying to diversify that portion sufficiently.

Nicely done review as well mate. Agree with what most others have said, never be afraid to wield the full strength of the rating spectrum. Drop 1.0s on them fools.

WalrusTusk
February 17th 2021


827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@asleep Happens to the best of us. That was the only one I noticed just because I was like... is this a phrase I'm not aware of haha.

DarkNoctus
February 17th 2021


11463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm a bit conflicted tbh. i think this site has historically been harsh on this band - there are similar bands that really do keep releasing the same record over and over (russian circles got mentioned above - all their records sound the god damn same to me) and seem to go by unscathed.



i don't think this'll ever top the bands' best works, but i wouldn't go as far as saying this is ground well trodden for the band. this is a band sounding like themselves - a distinct sound in its own right. god is an astronaut records all sound distinct (save the run from all is violent all is bright, far from refuge and a moment of stillness - they all sounded very similar) especially as time has gone on - origins being a much rockier, poppier album, helios being much more ambient and atmospheric, epitaph being way darker and heavier. this one sounds distinct from all of them.



it's denser instrumentally, less melodic, far more immediate. you couldn't interchange any tracks from this with any of their last three albums - same could be said for any of those albums. i feel this one is harder to get into but each listen i like it a little more and because of that i want to be more charitable.



frankly however tiring one might find 'yet another post-rock album' because 'post-rock is dead', it's even more tiring seeing cop-out arguments like "it's been done before" because frankly you could say that about so many records and i don't see it as a valid demerit. it's a dumb argument.

parksungjoon
February 17th 2021


29679 Comments


> it's even more tiring seeing cop-out arguments like "it's been done before" because frankly you could say that about so many records and i don't see it as a valid demerit. it's a dumb argument.

counterpoint: it's true for all of them



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