Dearest Astraea is the solo effort for Johnston Ellis. Ellis seems have always wanted to write and record music. He got that chance with the help of a couple of friends to record Coming Home - Demo EP.
I’m only a couple years away from forty at this point. The first song on this EP entitled “23 Lamps” reminds of being in my late teens and early twenties when I listened to a good amount of NIN and darker, very “serious” type of music. The music itself reminded a lot of the hard rock goth acts that came out of the ‘90s. Ellis sings with a lot of affectation as if he was trying to be menacing and evil. He sings, “Thou preparest and anoints and restores my soul. / And surely You come quickly.”
The next song “Easy Company” is almost a complete departure. The whole I’m sinister and a tortured soul act is gone and with it is a much more straightforward and accessible human inflection. The song is actually tender and sweet in its own way. He sings, "I swear I'm getting out, but I will never forget you! / I’ll never turn my back on everything we did, all the hell that we went through, and everything we had!”
“Equivalent Exchange, Winry!” is a clear highlight. The whole band sounds very natural here and the melodies are catchy and memorable. This is the style that seemed to really fit them. They play into three chord punk rock that harks back to the ’90s on “I've Got Your Back (Until the End).” They have more success with “Coming Home” which is a jangly pop song.
The band is all over the place stylistically. There really is no one genre. On top of that the recording is very lo-fi with different sonic imprints so it's a little hard to feel like the band has any type of signature sound.
Ellis stated that in regards to his project “the point of it will always be to make music and memories with close friends as they go through life together.” I like that reason for making music and hope to hear more as they evolve and continue to explore different musical possibilities.
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