If you’re hesitant to sit through another Leftoverture, fret not: Wax Fang has studied their early-Gilmour-era Floyd through and through. There are excesses here, sure, but each of these songs works into a lovely tension-release cycle, keeping the album interesting across its forty-odd minute runtime. And perhaps most impressively, the album never stutters during its obligational “concept bloat”: the droning white noise of “The Event Horizon” and the instrumental sunshine synths on “The Singularity” actually add something to the album, a sort of restful rapid transport from place to place.

The Astronaut feels cobbled together at times, particularly in its first movement, but Wax Fang’s wide draw keeps the album from stooping into overly derivative fan-service. The band blows kisses to Bowie, holds hands with Hawkwind and sleeps with Sabbath, and then there’s a moment recalling early Radiohead, a bit of Brian Jonestown Massacre, some patronage to Alan Parsons… And all in rapid fire, one after another. Wax Fang makes no effort to hide their tributes and their music is better for it. So, dig out your dad’s old black light and lava lamp (and whatever else your dad pretends he doesn’t still have) and listen to The Astronaut in a single sitting.

By John Julius

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