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Jersey’s Astral Cloud Ashes, the solo project of Anthony Walker, is back with a new album entitled Dear Absentte Creator which is largely influenced by both bitcoin and Japanese culture. A follow up to 2016’s louder Too Close to the Noise Floor, it seems that Walker is, for now, no longer strictly under the spell of Black Francis and the simplistic, stripped down alt-rock of the Pixies. Instead, this new album is a far more contemplative and introspective work which often references the shimmering guitar arpeggios of Johnny Marr. There are still bursts of grungey emo, but it’s now equally offset with increasing moments of calculated, moody pop.
The album title comes from the song “Satoshi Nakamoto vs Unyielding Desire for BAU,” and rather than any deeper metaphor, it appears to be a straightforward celebration of cryptocurrency. It’s a theme which pops up routinely throughout, occasionally augmented by the addition of traditional Japanese instruments. Some of Walker’s strongest lyrics, however, emerge when he writes of what are ostensibly more personal issues, and “A Reformatted Heart” and “Ironed Shirts” are two examples of songs which immediately strike the listener as daringly authentic. Dear Absentee Creator shows a lot of growth since Astral Cloud Ashes’ first record, and it suggest a consistent progression of devoted artistry.
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