Astral Cloud Ashes – Too Close to the Noise Floor

 

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So-Cal pop-punk has found its way to the Island of Jersey with Astral Cloud Ashes.

Too Close to the Noise Floor is the debut full-length album from Antony Walker under the banner of Astral Cloud Ashes. The record is a slice of life from that time in your late teens/early twenties where the roads start to open up, the usual authority figures are losing their grip on you and you’re living for the next weekend’s kegger. Walker draws from all the classic pop-punk wells, Blink 182, Sum 41 and other Word-Number monikered bands. However, Astral Cloud Ashes as the name suggests attempts to infuse a degree of frat boy philosophy into the songs, giving them a pensive nature. The album is replete with these ‘thinkers’ rather than the genre standard of throwing a token sentimental tune on the record to break it up. The record reportedly took several approaches to find the right sound. Walker took the record all over London, bouncing between seven different mix engineers to be satisfied. Sonically, the album is clear and punchy with just enough edge to keep it interesting.

The album kicks off with ‘The Man I Had to Become’, a straightforward coming of age tale. Walker’s delivery is exaggerated, matter-of-fact. The song has a light melancholy, suburban regrets. The music is expertly crafted to the style. The hanging outro mantra takes the track beyond simple pop-punk and makes it something more. ‘Avant Blah’ muses on John and Yoko confessing he’ll get to finding the reasons in life eventually, whenever it finally ends up being necessary. Guitars interplay seamlessly with slick effects and a wistful charm. Album closer ‘Our Holiday’ looks back on summer vacations and past relationships. A fitting ending looking back at a life so far.

Too Close to the Noise Floor is perfectly executed emotional pop-punk. The protagonist may not have all the answers but he is reflecting to some extent and at least that’s something.

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1 eMusic

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