Red planet, Saturn’s rings, pulsar, and star stuff are words that you might associate with Carl Sagan, Neil Degrasse Tyson, NASA and the wonderful 1977 film Powers of Ten but music?! That’s about as silly as combining ice fishing with Jack Daniels. Well I guess it’s not that silly at all. In fact Troy Meadows does a very good job at taking these interstellar topics on his latest release entitled Love Songs for Astronomers and turning them into Earth-inspired songs that don’t sound ridiculously pretentious. These sparse songs even seem to emanate some humor at times. The songs feel light kind of like you are barely floating. Some songs revolve around little more than his voice and acoustic guitars while other are ambient pieces that are about as harmless as peeking at the Andromeda Galaxy through a telescope. One thing you don't have a lot of on this album is percussion. If you are looking for drums to mimic pulsars or a meteorite shower you will be disappointed. However, if you are looking for some well-crafted songs that sound more like a man observing not only his place in the universe but the universe itself you came to the right place.
The first song entitled ”planetarium” revolves around an acoustic guitar and Wilson’s singing/whisper style singing that sounded a bit reminiscent of Sufjan Steven. It had a pleasant vocal line and guitar melody although this song almost sounded too passive and relaxed at times. Meadows repeats the lyric “we haven't seen any sign of life” on “red planet,” which should be pretty self-explanatory. ”an atmospheric condition” sounds exactly like the title and is a brief ambient piece mimicking the sounds of the cosmos. One of the highlights of the album is “saturn’s rings.” The song exudes tranquility as a clean electric strums nice sounding chords and synths transform in the background. As the song progresses it grows ever so slightly but never explodes. “ space: the final frontier” is a good song. It is uplifting, the most percussive song yet and has some of the catchiest vocal melodies on the album. While most of the album works there are some songs that aren't quite as effective such as “smoke signals” and the last song “the final frontier” which is an overdriven song that is out of place.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this album and was impressed that Meadows was able to pull it off without sounding ridiculous and contrived. All right - time to pop in my VHS copy of Cosmos.
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