Taking a cue from the gritty punk of the streets and the mesmerizing sounds of noise, Junior Astronomers have created their own hybrid that sounds like a battle unfolding. Instead of taking the safe route, the band walks a fine line on the tightrope of subgenres. Their first full length Dead Nostalgia is anything but dead, bristling with emotive vocals and rough edges.
The punk aesthetic is obvious by a quick peek at the tracklist––with only two songs breaking the four-minute mark and titles such as “Vibrator,” the band’s pedigree is quickly exposed. Frontman Terrence Richard’s howls and yelps sound like the musical child of Gallows and Rise Against, conveying every pained feeling in the lyrics. The chorus to “Neighbors” is especially uncontrolled and exemplifies the band’s chaotically concentrated style. The hardcore vocals don’t distract from the haywire approach of the instruments, which dazzle at some points and simply grind at others. “Lisalla” finds the band dipping their toes into Strokes-esque rhythms with a kind of dull fury that pounds its way through the song. There is a subterranean honesty with which the band present themselves, simultaneously wishing to cause nosebleeds and connect with their audience.
If not for the almost cringeworthy (in a good way) vocals, the band might lose themselves among the countless other acts offering pandemonium in a bottle. This is not to say that’s their only saving grace; “Gimmick” is a bounce-worthy pulser with guitars that match the noodling factor of Dance Gavin Dance or The Fall of Troy, and “GIV’ER” is a strong statement of the band’s musicality. Still, the sheer craziness the band puts off is not for everyone. Fans of NPR and folk music need not apply.
Without doubt, Junior Astronomers offer a scatterbrained trip to the edges of the universe with no promise of return. For some, this can be a hard pill to swallow, but others will want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. Chances are, if you find yourself screaming along to unknown acts that sound like pissed-off road construction, you’ll find something to love about Dead Nostalgia.