I’d lost track of Philadelphia’s Asteroid No. 4 over the years, but if their latest effort, Hail To The Clear Figurines, is anything to go by, they haven’t lost a step. Note to self: Investigate the back catalog items missing from my collection ASAP.
The group formed around 1995 and their debut EP from that year, CIA Took My Dog Away, as well as 1997’s full-length Introducing… Asteroid No. 4 (Lounge) and an assortment of compilation cuts, showcased an electrifying modern psych act bearing resemblance to Brian Jonestown Massacre and Spacemen 3. (Check out Asteroid’s stunning cover of the latter’s “Losing Touch With My Mind” on the excellent Rocket Girl label’s Spacemen 3 tribute album.) Since then the Philly based ensemble’s explored mod, garage, and the last time I saw them live in 2002, country rock. They were even sporting western shirts and suede jackets.
Hail To The Clear Figurines seems to incorporate a little of everything that’s made this band so good for so long, thus a fine starting point for the uninitiated. Opening the album with the hard-hitting “Wicked Wire,” a Nuggets-garage stomper, Asteroid No. 4 sounds like a perfect companion to The Standells. Nearly as great, “The Unknown” incorporates Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones with its tough guitar sound and sensitive supplemental harp. Speaking of Jones, “Ignition Slated For Eight” is reminiscent of another Stones classic, “2000 Light Tears From Home,” full of trippy effects and a hypnotic vocal melody drawing listeners in.
“Be Yourself, By Yourself” is the most “modern” sounding track on Hail, coming across as the perfect marriage of The Stone Roses’ “I Wanna Be Adored” and Echo and The Bunnymen’s “Do It Clean.” “All False Reasons” is Byrdsian 12-string pop at its best, while “The Clear Figurines” could be a lost relic from Ray Davies’ finest hour on The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. Another more obvious ode to The Kinks, “Sunny Day (One Afternoon)” is a perfect piece to play on a lazy sunny afternoons. Remember those?Visit: The Asteroid No. 4 | The Committee to Keep Music Evil
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