Let’s be honest right from the start, if you have any past exposure to Calling All Astronauts, either live or in any physical or digital recorded format, you will know what to expect and ultimately, are unlikely to be disappointed by Anti-Social Network. This album has David B’s influences waving their flag and stomping their DM’s all over it. Sometimes this can be a distraction, but on the whole influences are there because you have a passion for their origins, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it’s what attracts an audience to an artist and holds them.
For those new to the CAA arena, imagine a glorious orgy of post-punk, industrialised goth, infused with techno, and some dance music where Andrew Eldritch sings with a Johnny Cash sneer over a sea of infectious melodies and that’s what CAA’s new album delivers.
And whilst David B emotes his 21st century visions he is ably abetted by J, piling on the sonic onslaught on guitar and Paul McCrudden interweaving bass lines through the orchestrated aural foundations that underpin CAA music.
Standout tracks for me are Time To Fight Back, a track up there vying for the attentions of Prodigy and their newcomers, and the last track on the album, Divisive, a sure fire live monster in the making.
However, for me this album is a slight deviation from past work, in that there is at times a sparse, bleak undercurrent to it and as a result it appears more deconstructed, less crushingly relentless than debut album Post Modern Conspiracy. Where the sonic vista almost appears too sparse it is pulled back from the industrial abyss with hooks that pin your attention back on the sneering vocal. What this temporal release does bring is a roller-coaster ride through the album, defined peaks and troughs, like a wild chemically induced ride. Personally, Living the Dream wouldn’t have been my opener, I would have gone for the more representative Empire or Hands Up.
In all, definitely worth a listen if you are curious what the bastard offspring of an industrialised, punked up union of Joy Division and Sisters Of Mercy would be like and undoubtedly it is a worthy addition to your collection if you are a fan of any of CAA’s previous work.
Anti-Social Network is released on Friday 11th March 2016 and is available via the usual outlets.