Astragal is a trio consisting of David, Sam, and Jimmy. They roam the city of Houston, Texas and are among another of the growing shoegaze and dreampop scenes in the Lonestar State. Their first EP came out in 2016 and on March 1, 2019, EP II has seen the light of day. Limited to four tracks, each beams with a particularly kinetic energy that is both powerfully emotive and dynamically engaging. Astragal also combine the best that is at the core of bands like The Cure and other 80’s darker icons with the glimmer of dreampop.
EP II begins with the strum of glittering guitar, fantastic bass tones and lines, head-bobbing drums, and earnest, breathy vocals that hypnotize. “Wilt” is the title of this opening track, and as one moves out of the first verse, the band explodes into a frenzy. It’s immediately clear that this band has something special about it, with an aural chemistry that mixes the separate parts into a euphoria concoction. This leads into “Bloomer” with pounding tom rolls and a killer bass line. The glitter of the guitars fills the spaces while the vocals enter the mix. It’s clear that this band doesn’t let up on the great tracks and, perhaps, the compactness of an EP allows them to present only the best of their writing but I can’t help but want a full-length from them.
The last two tracks on the EP are short and powerful. “Scenery II” opens with a gorgeous drone that drifts off into spacy pastures and envelops the listener in a beautiful aural fog. “Moderne Luxury” finishes off the EP with pulsating drums and a nostalgic feel that I can’t quite place my finger on now. More killer bass lines over great percussion and a catchy, ear worm guitar that blazes through with a brilliant melody. Then the guitars soar, bursting into a shimmering wall of sound as the track progresses.
If Astragal’s goal was to produce four brilliant tracks and leave the listener wanting so much more, they have absolutely succeeded. EP II contains four tracks that evoke moments of nostalgia for the best one can find in 80’s music coupled with the vibrancy of current iterations of dreampop. Go to their Bandcamp and buy a digital copy immediately!