I first heard of Astronuts through a clip on Facebook when former guitarist and vocalist of the Feverdogs, Lee Junsoo, told me his new band was in the process of recording new music. Well, the music finally came in the form of this five song (six if you have the CD) album called ‘Pale Blue Dot.’ I really like what the Busan-based bands do, and Astronuts continue the trend of amazing music from the city.
Astronuts describe themselves as British rock, though I wasn’t sure of this, especially from the lead single, “Syncope.” It does carry the attitude and swagger of rock, moving from groove to groove through the guitar, bass, and drums completed by the swaying vocals, but in strict terms of British rock, it didn’t really hit that tone. The song itself is amazing through, and it’s easy to get lost in each verse.
With “All I Want Is”, one gets where the self-description comes from as the British attitude flows freely. Junsoo carries the song through the vocals, which mix English and Korean language. Guitarist Dongbin assists with the verses, while bassist Sanggyu and drummer Haram provide the foundation on every song. I especially enjoy listening to the drums because they don’t just present a rhythm, but also add some bite to each beat.
“404 Room On Fire” is the most British single on the release. The slower tempo, dual guitar voices, and overall tempo reminds me of all the elements found in British rock, and the only real difference is that the lyrics are in Korean. Astronuts are a perfect example of how it doesn’t matter where you live, any type of music is possible if the members are talented. “404 Room On Fire” should be on everyone’s playlist because it’s simply an amazingly constructed and arranged song. It might not have the biggest presence among the rest of the songs in terms of tempo, but I think it is the strongest.
“I’m Sorry Officer” is sung in English, and if you didn’t know Astronuts were from Busan, you might mistake them as an independent band from the US or England. In particular, I like how it plays around and uses repetitive verses to emphasize itself. “천문학개론” is a perfect end for the digital release, as this is the song that combines the best elements of Korean rock with the foundation of British rock music. The vocal delivery is what I expect from Korean bands, while the instrumentals are definitely in the British rock arena.
I’ve had to wait a couple years before I could hear the next project from Junsoo, and after ‘Pale Blue Dot’ I’m sure that it was worth the wait. I still enjoy listening to Feverdogs, but Astronuts definitely feels like a new chapter. Every time I hear new music from Busan bands, I’m impressed, and Astronuts have shown that there is an amazing music scene down south and hopefully more bands make themselves known.