Richard Haswell - Asteroids

I seem to be getting a lot of emails recently. And when I saw "Haswell" I thought I got an email from Russel Haswell: a totally different artist. Asteroids is Richard Haswell's latest album, and a sort of blend of droning space rock, shoegaze, and some sort of electronic pop. Somewhat reminiscent of something like The Big Pink and Wild Nothing's Golden Haze, particularly in the vocals: smooth, emotive, and very capturing. However, the influences are very openly displayed; some elements unsubtle and sometimes downright irritating - the fourth track's unapologetic beat is somewhere between iffy and awful depending on the section in the song - but filled with little intricacies here and there. And exceptionally well done vocals keep my ears smiling if such a thing can be imagined. However, what I keep coming back to is the beats. Hearing The Water Poet, the guitar is alright but the accented beat is aggravating and sounds like a child with a dry mouth spitting, and this also happens in the fourth track. Too treble-y and far too distracting. And when the rest of the mix drops, I really notice the terrible sound they have. Saying that, in the following song it gets pretty groovy and the drums sound just right, though it is a slight departure from the usual sound. Not a bad one, though. Overall the mixing is pretty good bar the beats and the ambiance brought up among a rather smooth bass tone and the aforementioned generic-but-so-smooth-it's-ear-caramel vocals make it a pleasant listen somewhere between somewhat derivative dream-pop stylings and the odd surprise of something a little different like Routinely Armed where it's like the aforementioned but with Pompeya in the mix. Ultimately this is poppy, and if you spend most of your time finding a hook difficult to handle, you might not like this, but if you want digestible poppy music with the odd surprise, this might make you smile. It's smile-core. But not as in the Boris album. Or a poppy new subgenre of hardcore. Certainly something worth revisiting for when you want something fun and ideal for a summer's day.

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