All Astronauts – Navigation Songs

All Astronauts
Navigation Songs

This Winston Salem, North Carolina group has roots in the defunct indie/punk outfit Squatweiler, but one shouldn’t expect similar results with Navigation Songs. All Astronauts’ debut CD Navigation Songs is like a lesson in operatic ass-kicking. It’d be pretty much easy to realize that with the vicious double vocal attack of male and female vocals on “Burning/ Building”: “Bridges will be Built / Bridges will be burned.” You might want to run and hide or kick someone’s ass, depending on what type of person you are. If you are still listening after track twp, the rest of the five tracks here will give you plenty of anger and aggression, certainly enough to act as motivation and fodder for pummeling some poor fool.

What All Astronauts lack in grace, they make up for in volume and force. The vocals, whether male or female, are strong, fierce, bellowing, yet piercing. The drums don’t pop, they crash. The bass is hectic. The guitar work is angular and dissonant. Combining elements of all things metal, noise-rock, and post-punk, it’s heavy on darkness and chaos and light on subtlety.

As you delve deeper into the hellfire of this disc, you’ll discover a bit more versatility with tracks like “Curing the Remedy” – those that start out instrumental and relatively restrained only to burst through after four minutes with the manic female screeching of some ironic Britney refrain of: “Hit, me baby one more time / Hit me baby one more time.” It’s cute, in an ironic sort of way, but more frightening than anything. The power of these vocals is displayed throughout with furious bursts that would shred lesser vocal chords but never as much so as with the register-climbing, glass-breaking squeal in the closer, “Navigation I & II.” It’s a fitting way to end an album for a group that prides itself on the force and chaos of its instruments (vocal or otherwise).

Navigation Songs is a gritty, operatic disc that has bite to fuel any misplaced aggression. The songs thunder and wail, and even though it’s far from beautiful, they always succeed in making an impact.