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rock in the fine city
'80s-'90s singapore independent music archives
Monday, April 06, 2009
ASTREAL- Ouijablash CD
(Springroll Creative Entertainment Agency Pte Ltd 1996)

Back in the early '90s, I had this serious infatuation with shoegazing bands and when I hear The Pagans (Singapore's version of Ride meets Chapterhouse), you can imagine me sobbing to its hip swaying headswim on Boss pedal effects. After that period we had bands like The Mother and Breed (pre-Astreal) with their wall of art-noise Curve sounding demos. But the biggest name in the history of shoegazing in Singapore if it's not The Pagans, then it is very much Astreal. After Pagit left Breed, the remaining members roped in a particular Melissa Lim for the vocals and they created their unique art noise dream homage of a My Bloody Valentine with Astreal. My first exposure to this band was with the BigO Singles Club 3, which features their song “Stay Awake”, leaving quite an impression with its interesting texture and engaging melody .

Somewhere in 1996, Astreal put out their debut “Ouijablush”, which upon first look reminds me of the cheap techno/dance compilations put out by VMP. But this is extreme indie, very dreamy and sonically rich ambient rocking high on helium. The opener “Just a Dream” is 11 on gain and grating to the max, but a beautiful tune is laid in its architecture, and here the vocals sounds like ghostly whispers which occasionally breaks into clarity. “Wait” is a much more melodic song with a strong Slowdive influence in its structure, and where I can get to hear Melissa's amateurish yet irresistably charming voices. Her airy vocalisation shines on “To The Velvet”, a song which is low on feedbacks and woven by clear, slightly reverbed guitars. The more upbeat songs on this CD are “Stay Awake”, “Vir-Uno”, “Take My Hand”, driven by infectiously energetic programmed beats. “A Blue and Yellow Glow” may be an instrumental, but it is ironically the most complex track on this album, with its beautiful layers of wonderfully chiming instrumentations that aids a spirit into heavenly realms under the right influence.

The debut itself is a very gentle, psychedelic foray into the kaleidoscope of dreams. Subsequently, the band has witnessed few lineup changes, with the participation of Ginette Chittick (previously from Psycho Sonique) in their rosters and the band has since ventured into a darker electronica realm with their sophomores, which is still good, if not better than the debut. However, there is an allure of the mid '90s Astreal that warms the heart in a way that is snug as a bug in the rug.

--sojourner at 2:28 AM

Album Reviews

Anesthesia- Anesthesia CD Astreal- Ouijablush CD AWOL- Midnight In June CD Band of Slaves- 45 MCD Bird Brains- Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich CD The Black Sun- The Black Sun CD The Boredphucks- Revolution 69 MCD The Boredphucks- Banned In Da Singapura CD Chris Ho- Nite Songs In Day-Glo CD Concave Scream- Concave Scream CD Concave Scream- Erratic CD Concave Scream- Three CD Daze- Sexy Little Boy MCD Do Not Ask- Just Play It! CD Edgar's Fault- Edgar's Fault CD Fection Dasche- Eternal Transgression CD Flying Pills- Flying Pills CD Force Vomit- The Furniture Goes Up CD Global Chaos- The Art of Listening CD Humpback Oak- Pain-stained Morning CD Humpback Oak- Ghostfather CD Humpback Oak- SideASideB CD Humpback Oak- Oaksongs Boxset Impiety- Asateerul Awaleen CD Kelvin Tan- The Bluest Silence CD Lilac Saints- Awake CD The Lizard's Convention- Here's a Funny Fish, Hurrah! CD The Mother- A Dark Trip On The Ill Tip CD Mutation- Void of Disharmony EP Neural Vibe- Mantra CD The Oddfellows- Teenage Head CD The Oddfellows- Carnival CD The Ordinary People- It's A Weird Existence CD The Padres- BigO Singles Club #1 MCD The Padres- What's Your Story MCD The Pagans- Stereokineticspiraldreams CD Radio Active- Eyes In The Attic CD Starfish n Coffee- Ghost MCD Stompin' Ground- Measured By The Richter Scale CD Stoned Revivals- Golden Lovesongs From The Evil Island of The Handsome Tropical Cannibals CD Sugarflies- And That's Why CD Watchmen- Democracy CD Watchmen- Love MCD Zircon Gov.Pawn Starz- Follywood CD Zircon Lounge- Regal Vigor LP Various Artists- +65 Indie Underground 3 CDs Set Various Artists- Left of The Dial CD Various Artists- The Substation 10 Years & Counting (Rock The Garden) CD Various Artists- 12 Storeys CD Various Artists- New School Rock MCD
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