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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Thank God For Astronauts
Take It Tough (7" single)

Best Friends Records scores yet another hit with this 7 inch release Take It Tough by Thank God For Astronauts. I'd never heard of the band before, but their brand of crunchy powerpop is really infectious. Though you can even dance to this stuff, the songs have such a strong, memorable structure and backbone that are testament to their ability as songwriters. I thought I caught a slight retro indie pop sound to the two tunes on this record... somehow, they manage to sound like a cross between Heatmiser (Neil Gust's songs), early Sebadoh (Barlow's songs), Fountains of Wayne, maybe a little Superchunk. Add clever lyrics to boot ("You'll never see my tombstones memories" and "The centrifuge is speedy / don't you wash me out") and you've got a recipe for a really winning combination of pop smarts and true indie hearts.

"Take It Tough", starts off with a clip-clop drum machine and then proceeds to tear it up with raw guitar riffs and a terrific bassline. Vocals are very nice, delivered sort of deadpan like Dean Wareham but lower like Lou Barlow. The B-Side, "Seismic Waves", is no throwaway either and proves to be just as strong if not stronger than the first side; you're definitely getting two singles here. The buildup to the end is my favorite part of that song, and I have to admit I kept moving the needle back to halfway through the song to hear it again and again. My only question is in that supremely catchy ending chorus: is Kent singing "missle, missle guiding you" or "whistle whistle guiding you"? It sounds more like the latter but the former seems to fit the song better. Hehe, that's lyric interpretation for you. In any case, thank god for Thank God For Astronauts...

- review by RABBIT (1.29.04)        

Best Friends Records
P.O. Box 48214
Denver, CO 80204

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