Review Summary: God is an Astronaut is as God is an Astronaut does.
Lots of people love to poke fun at the more straight forward post rock bands, and it’s understandable even to a veteran post rock listener. It can't be denied that they insist on recording similar sounding albums one after the other. It's only after sitting down and giving them a chance one can realize that some of them may actually be worth it. God Is An Astronaut exists as one of those bands that have plenty of wonderful songs scattered throughout their superficial discography. Superficial or not, this is a band that definitely had their day in the sun, and it seems like it's long past. Sort of.
The veteran post rockers returned to form in 2015 with Helios/Erebus
. If Epitaph
had less muddy production choices, they would have continued down that spacey rejuvenating route. This time around they deliver unto us Ghost Tapes #10
, complete with a stellar album cover and musicianship that muddles their identity. Ever since their self-titled album, it’s been a gradual process. That’s definitely where Epitaph
exceeded to far greater lengths not seen since All is Violent, All is Bright
. They established a distinct identity due to the overly dense production, but at the expense of covering up stellar music in Epitaph
. In this case, It’s a shame to hear them improve production wise but double dip into their influences too much with this album.
Over the course of this album, every track stands out in the sense that they are all engaging. However, the tradeoff is that there doesn't exist any true payoff in each one. They energize, feature massive walls of sound and are well performed on the band's part. Still, one can see the idea that most of the band’s work is phoned in here. There's a distinct lack of originality and they resort to their Russian circles, Pelican and Cloudkicker influenced style for most of the music’s runtime. It’s only when they slow down for more ambient sections and a lush closing track that the listener can take a breath.
Conversely there's still plenty of enjoyment to be experienced here. Those influences mentioned above make for a fun and engaging instrumental rock tracks that suggests determination. When compared to their early styles were more post rock and trip hop influenced, Ghost Tapes #10
is more of a lyricless hard rock album with hints of shoegaze and post metal. To their credit, God is an astronaut just about equalizes on the expectations that fans would have of them. God is an astronaut is as God is an astronaut does. Thankfully, fans that have been listening to them for years will come to enjoy that dense guitarwork on this album. However, this one won’t win over any new fans.