Astpai – Burden Calls

Astpai - Burden Calls

Astpai – Burden Calls

The energy is consistent on Burden Calls, but the songs bounce between revitalized rock ‘n’ roll and rote. Half of the album frays the punk-pop tradition of snots singing about boredom and disenchantment. Yet, on the whole, there’s no doubting Astpai’s professionalism; this is a focused album with limited filler, often capturing the energy of a really good band’s live performance.

For starters, “Single Use” is a positive misdirection. Those dirty atonal chords darkening the melody don’t resurface for the rest of the album, but the song’s energy comes around time and again. I enjoy this song more and more with each listen. Then, “Dead End Talking” doubles down with a few efficient guitar leads, bass and guitar rapid alternate picking, and a coarsely vocalized rock-hard chorus.

Then we hit a snag. The tracks “Out,” “Death Everywhere,” and “After All” drag. The production still punches: the guitar, drums, bass, and vocals all still sound full. But these tracks lack the strength of songwriting to not sound like imitations of their influences—Kid Dynamite, None More Black, and even Greenday and Pennywise.

Starting with “Departure,” the album regains traction with some nice guitar work. Then “Ground Control” and the brief “Resignation” capitalize; these two aren’t perfect, but you feel the momentum holding. These songs are only preludes to the single on Burden Calls, “Careers.” This track eases into the spotlight, smoothing out misgivings that surfaced earlier. The rhythm drops into listener-friendly grooves with confidence and the lyrics ask questions in earnest without setting up straw men.

Have fun listening to Burden Calls from Austria’s Astpai. Fans of Kid Dynamite, None More Black, and the like will very much enjoy.