Tuesday, April 2, 2013

THE ASTRONAUTS-IN DEFENSE OF COMPASSION, LP, 1989, UK

This long-standing UK cult band whom much was shared by in our previous incarnation offered a unique vision of free festival freak rock. In their distinctive iteration, it was tempered by instincts that place them as close to the sort of shambolic DIY post punk of Instant Automatons as it did to anything beloved by caravanning crusties. Like the Instant Automatons, The Astronauts also orbited the axis of and participated in the free gigs put on by Fuck Off Records, the squirrely DIY imprint run by key UK free festival operative and Here And Now member Kif Kif Le Bateur. This particular trajectory of crusty hippie to crusty punk would underpin a lot of key UK fringe praxis over time from The Cardiacs to Crass and The Astronauts vision of this impulse is a central one.

Looking like Hawkwind roadies and playing like punks during their gigs, their scrappy DIY veneer is beautifully frayed at the seams, revealing the hippie ethos underpinning it.  This tension was particularly evident as their studio efforts, which, since their debut EP in 1979 have matured step by step to reveal ever more deftly deployed folk and pop arrangements. In Defense Of Compassion was their fifth outing and it perfectly captures this lot at the peak of their peculiar powers and in an unusually production-rich setting for them. On In Defense Of Compassion, they nimbly shift from fizzing synths over garage rock motifs to drugged surf music and from reverb drenched world music mutations to mordant folk dirges, climaxing with a career besting 9 minute folk psych epic. Thanks to both Joe Davin of The Astronauts and Acid Stings Records for making this share possible.


Get it Here  

3 comments:

Herr Klaus said...

I love this one, thanks! It sounds older than 1989, doesn't it?

Esteban Tenedor said...

Gracias!

Anonymous said...

Saw this band once supporting here & now at bham Uni in about 79/80 and thought they were brilliant.- never found any of their recorded material so very much looking forward to hearing this. Thanks very much indeed !