Let me start by saying that today’s band flabbergasted me for various reasons, because if in the past you would have asked me to name music from Austria I would come up with Mozart and, sadly, DJ Ötzi. However, the four guys from Astpai have nothing in common with the two mentioned above…and that’s just as well. Their fourth full-length Burden Calls is going to be released on August 22nd and I’m happy to share my thoughts on it with you now already.
The punk-rock quartet definitely knows their stuff and recorded a really eclectic and fun-to-listen-to album, which didn’t leave my ear buds for quite some time. The major selling point for me was a certain sense of nostalgia that I got when I listened to their songs: I felt like being a young teenager again, playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for hours on end, because many of their songs would have fit perfectly into the game’s soundtrack.
Let me elaborate: the majority of the thirteen songs is an explosion of power chords and driving melodies that is bound to make you bounce around and bop your head. The interplay of the drummer and the bassist, who you can distinguish at all times, is top notch and provides a strong base for the guitars to go wild, when appropriate, or to take it easy when necessary. The songwriting isn’t going to rival the earlier-mentioned composer’s works, but it’s so well put together that you’ll say “fuck you Amadeus” in no time. The strong, yet real-sounding, production is just the icing on that delicious cake.
Then there’s the singer, who delivers an astounding performance, with his quite unique voice. I would say that he isn’t a virtuoso when it comes to vocals, but he takes everything out of the cards he’s been dealt and his slightly raspy voice will be stuck in your head before long. And as a little easter egg there’s a little detail on the song Emotion In The Way that lifts it to a whole new level, in my opinion: a female vocal track that is almost inaudible but very well used and gives the last track of these thirty-five minutes that extra something.
All in all, Astpai managed to put out a truly great punk record that should be checked out by every fan of the genre and newbie alike. Plus, they’ve won my (early) award for best outro of a song with the third track Out, but you’ll have to listen to that for yourselves when it comes out. On top of all that, having seen them live recently, I can only recommend going to one of their shows because they will (punk) rock you! To keep up with the band and their touring schedule, head over to Facebook and be sure to check the video below.