Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Review: Deastro - Moondagger (* * * *)

Spiritual space-rock may be an awkward musical term, but it's perhaps the best way to describe Randolph Chabot's unique brand of electronic pop. The 22 year-old prodigy recording under the Deastro moniker draws inspiration from singing in church choirs, eighties synth-pop and any electronic or organic instrument he can get his hands on. A collection of his earliest material was released last year as Keepers and became something of a surprise hit on eMusic, which released the compilation. Now, Chabot returns with a proper debut in Moondagger, a feverishly upbeat and effortlessly enjoyable blast of catchy pop music with an endearingly geeky sci-fi edge.

What's immediately striking about the music on Moondagger is the way Chabot squeezes so much beauty and warmth out of a palette consisting primarily of cheesy synthesizers and weird electronic noises mixed with more organic guitar and drum riffs. Instead of cold, calculated beats, songs like openers "Biophelia" and "Parallelogram" hum with emotion in the midst of crashing percussion and spacey keyboard riffs. Though the record certainly has a very outlandish theme with song titles like "Toxic Crusaders" and "Pyramid Builders," it's obvious that Chabot enjoys adding a very human element to his music which keeps the subjects more relatable and personal while still providing an inimitable listening experience. Especially great are the shifting, bizarre "Greens, Grays, And Nordics" and the epic second single "Vermillion Plaza," both of which show Deastro at their quirky, explosive best.

Moondagger has a restless feel that keeps the listener alert and expecting the unexpected, and the record is better for it. Chabot's positive and seemingly endless energy compliment his strong melodies and wealth of ideas and the album keeps a full head of steam until the end of the lonely "Kurgan Wave Number One." Quite simply, Moondagger is among the better debut's I've heard this year and is a welcome and unique addition to the burgeoning electronica movement that has brought so many talented artists to the forefront of indie rock. Expect to be hearing much more from Randolph Chabot in the near future.

For some additional info on Deastro, check out this Rolling Stone piece (make sure to watch the video).

Deastro on MySpace