Astrid / DNA – Liverpool Lomax - 6.2.01

DNA are pure eclecticism.  There’s ten of them up there, each operating within their own square foot of the Lomax stage, but this isn’t some kind of Godspeed You Black Emperor tribute.  The drums and bass are the most constant instruments throughout; the resulting funk styled trip-hop is persuasive and often powerful.  The three vocalists highlight the variance of this band, emanating Jeff Buckley, Skye Morcheeba and a Maxi Jazz styled MC, they intertwine to produce movements rather than parts to songs, often throwing choruses to the winds in favour of atmosphere.  A combination of Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and University students, the added elements of keyboards, decks, trumpet, sax and guitar provide a truly original sound.  In only their infant days, this combo could prove too eclectic for their own good, but with a provisional session at Shout FM they can only improve.

Which kind of makes things funny for Astrid.  If DNA are exploring new territories, then Astrid are just…well…nice, (in the worst possible use of the word).  Indie-pop at its most Teenage Fanclub, Astrid are competent, friendly, and look a little like Travis.  So, about as rock’n’roll as my Gran, but I’m doing my utmost to overlook that point.  They certainly have occasional tunes tucked under their belts, or rather even in their trousers, but seem reluctant to whip them out (ooh, Vicar!) for fear of having them chopped off, amputated by the collective ‘Rock Gods of Good Taste.’  So, whilst songs like “Tick-Tock” and “Kitchen TV” rise above the banal and almost become the Beach Boys via the Isle of Lewis, the rest of the set never seems to leave the tried and tested janglepop framework.  Safe, inoffensive, what’s the point?  I suppose they would tell us it’s about the music - the soundtrack to a nice summer’s day.  Sun-baked faces, freshly-mown grass.  You know the ones.  Those days when there’s nothing to do.  Whether you find that a viable artistic statement or not, I’ll leave to your own discretion.  But it bores me to tears.

Collen Chandler