The Asteroid #4 – These Flowers Of Ours

The Asteroid #4
These Flowers Of Ours

Philadelphia’s The Asteroid No. 4’s signature sound contains a unique mix of 60’s-style psychedelic folk, 70’s classic rock, and 80’s shoegaze with a hint of British Invasion pop. Sometimes all of these influences are blended together into a messy, swirling mix, and sometimes one or another of the styles are accentuated, or restrained, resulting in a cool brew. This ultimately makes These Flowers Of Ours an inconsistent, if not intriguing listen.

Most of the tracks are deeply rooted in 60’s psychedelic rock reminiscent of The Byrds, updated to modern standards with sinewy post-rock. Electrified acoustic guitar strums dissolve into spiraling electric guitar chords peppered with fuzz and a bit of distortion, while the delicate vocal harmonies, thick with reverb, circulate through the mix. Added here and there, and sometimes everywhere, are Mazzy Star-ish haze-rock, cascading, shoegazing guitars, 70’s electric rock riffs and echoing, Syd Barret-era, British psyche-pop.

When pushing an uptempo beat, the The Asteroid No. 4 tends to gravitate away from structured songs and instead create musical tapestries whose enticing ingredients seem carelessly thrown together and somehow fail to click. Never panning out into the blissful psyche-rock that’s hinted at in places, but neither is it unpleasant. When they combine the sound of falling rain and spoken word, rambling with the echoed mantra No. 4, No. 4, No.4, as on “Hei Nah Lah”, it sounds dated and out of place.

But when they slow down, open up the arrangements and concentrate on songcraft, Scott Vitt (vocals, guitars), Adam Weaver (drums, vocals), Eric Harms (guitars, bass), Ryan van Kriedt (vocals, keyboards, bass) and Aislinn van Kriedt concoct a fine brew of spacious and melodic psych-rock. The heavenly, melancholic “War” and the dreamy, jangly “She Touched The Sky” are prime examples.

To accentuate the hippy-like feel of These Flowers Of Ours, the group provide the sub-title “A Treasury Of Witchcraft And Devilry”and the album cover sports a pastiche of flowers, rainbow colored cloudbursts and blue sky. But without breaking any new ground or exploring the genre’s boundaries, The Asteroid No. 4 show they are content to make music within the comfort zone of modern psych-rock, precipitated by 60’s-style psychedelic folk.