You’ll know Pete Astor from his work with The Weather Prophets and The Loft. Here on Spilt Milk though he strikes out solo, letting his kitchen-sink indie pop songs play out exactly as he wants them to (although he is supported by members of Male Bonding, Hefner and Withered Hand among others). Out on Fortuna Pop.
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I would enjoy this record most at a prime location of a good house with a smattering of windowsill plants and a tendency to pronounce raindrops, but several famous pop songs have told me that You Can’t Always Get What You Want, so I’m listening to it in front of blank walls in a council warehouse. Maybe we need Pete Astor’s music here most of all, and while fans of his eternal, unwavering indie pop might be bored at this point, I’m not feeling the diminishing returns: this cool, collected jangle moves at such an earnest pace that I feel slow-mo’d into restfulness.
Astor is a niche, referential songwriter; his muses are hard to trace, he’ll sing about being on stage and we’re not all in sync with his book club, so his lyrics won’t necessarily entice on ‘Spilt Milk’. That said, a glance at the lyrics’ sheet reveals the simplicity of his heart: he can rhyme an obscure story into relatability, and his quiet, twanging guitar keeps things clear and coasting. “Mr. Music” is a gorgeous song about thinking you’re expressing heartbreak through music when really you’re pouring too much of your heart into music; “My Right Hand” is a gorgeous little number that articulates small lyrics with nimble piano chords and lilting guitar riffs. It’s the softness that makes Astor captivating, somehow: you can listen to his lyrics the way you might Real Estate’s or Dick Diver’s, as a nice pattern on pleasant wallpaper.
Clint and I are currently labouring under the impossible premise of our joint New Years’ Resolution, which is to go a whole year without spilling a single thing. All the spilt coffees, teas and waters yet to be mopped off of the Norman HQ floor are testament to our failure; ‘Spilt Milk’ seems to suggest everything will be okay in the end. Maybe we should start a jangle pop band and forgive ourselves.
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