British indie pop-rock artist Adam Astbury’s second feature length album, From Here We Can See Forever, hit shelves on December 9, 2013, and what a breath of fresh air it is. Astbury hails from Leeds, UK and over the past 2 years has now released two studio albums, one EP and the single Balloon Hearted Boy which appears on his current album. From Here We Can See Forever definitely steps up the indie scene’s game as Astbury exudes a professional sound, an intense musical talent, and an emotional range of lyrical expression.
Music is supposed to elicit an emotion. It’s supposed to connect you to a person, an event, or ultimately the medium (artist) who is baring themselves in front of you. Adam Astbury does this. I’ve only listened to his album a handful of times, never met the man, and yet I feel like I know him. I feel connected to him through his music. The feeling I get when I listen to this album is the feeling that keeps me looking for new bands and artists all the time. As I’ve been writing this review and going back over and editing it I find myself constantly being distracted because I have the album playing on repeat in the background. I just keep getting so caught up in the album that I have to stop, close my eyes and just soak in the music.
The first time I listened to this album I was instantly hooked. I was sitting at work, had my headphones in my laptop, turned to a co-worker and said: ‘you need to hear this.’ When I pulled out the headphones and let the laptop speaker take over we both just sat there and soaked in the rich melodies and profound depth to the music. In that instant two new Adam Astbury fans were born.
The first track on the album is Living in Colour and it’s a great start to a great album that continues to get better with each song. Living in Colour features Sarah Lloyd on vocals alongside Astbury and he gives her room to shine throughout the entirety of the song. Throughout the album it is clear that Astbury has a great voice. It is controlled and yet has a great vocal range that allows him to really take a lead and keep it, yet there’s something humbling about the way that when he shares the mic with a featured artist, you know he is giving them his spotlight and it doesn’t faze him in the least bit. Just by listening to a single song on this album you can tell that Astbury is truly in this profession for the musical integrity, and not for any personal gain. The other album featuring an artist is the final track on the album I Guess It’s Over Now which features Lucy Mizen, who I’m assuming has some relation to Dan Mizen, the amazing producer on this remarkable album.
Other notable tracks on the album include the already mentioned single Balloon Hearted Boy whose acoustic opening sucks you in and holds you until the last beat. My favourite song on the album is Vaccine. I don’t fully know what it is about this song that gets at me, but lyrically it tugs at my heart strings, musically it just stays with me. It’s haunting, yet hopefully optimistic and manages to make me as, an individual, feel very much like the music that Astbury is deconstructing: stripped down and raw. Making Rain Clouds is another favourite as it adds a brassier touch to the Astbury feel. I wish there were more songs that incorporate the brass band backing, but I’ll definitely take what I can get!
The more I listen to this Adam Astbury album the more I want to see him live. His musical styles (not his vocals in this example) are very similar to that of Chris Carrabba, formerly of Dashboard Confessional and currently of Twin Forks. As someone who has had a blast every chance (and it’s been multiple times) I’ve had to see Carrabba live with either band, I just imagine that Astbury would carry the same energy, professionalism and fun-going spirit that would make a small, intimate concert in a local bar, by far one of the greatest musical events I would ever attend. Adam, if you ever read this and ever end up touring Canada, please make a stop in Ottawa and play at Zaphod Beeblebrox, it is by far the perfect venue for you! I’ll show up and bring a crowd!