Darkly enigmatic; two words that sum up the debut album from Dunedin two piece Astro Children. Awash with literary references and rife with the caustic energy many have come to expect from the band, Proteus is a shift away from the bubblegum… with their growing up demonstrating a wave of vitriol along the way.
With The Attic’s Lick My Spaceship EP showcasing the “lighter” side of Millie Lovelock (vocals, guitar) and Isaac Hickey (drums), Proteus marks the childhood friends’ shift into more hostile sonic regions. The bratty-yet-optimistic duo of old have, despite their relative young age, grown a little more weary of the world around them – what some may consider angst is instead genuine cynicism. It would be easy to dismiss Proteus as teenage growing pains, and much more easily asinine to do so.
Cue college-rock style anthems such as “Big Muff (Strikes Again), “Eden” and “Shoe” that on the surface seem like exuberant pop songs. Scratch the surface of Lovelock’s lyrics, rich and erudite on this release, and there is a dark undertone. “Nora Barnacle”, “Yonsi” and The Vaselines-esque “Jamie Knows” bring this consciousness to the forefront.
Such as the myth of Proteus and the deity’s ever changing nature, so is the flowing nature of Astro Children’s debut album. Much like the third chapter in Joyce’s classic Ulysses, Proteus asserts a theme of change and transformation apparent in the Dunedin pair.
1) Sunday Afternoon
2) Jamie Knows
5) Nora Barnacle
6) Big Muff (Strikes Again)