Single Review: Astronauts – In My Direction

Well now that the holidays are over and I’m settling into 2015, it’s time to start immersing myself in new music once again. I thought about finding the perfect album to review for my first post of the new year but something else caught my attention. One of my favorite new discoveries of 2014 has a new single coming out January 19th and I couldn’t help but give it a listen before focusing on something else. Had I done a ‘best EP’ list of 2015, Astronauts’ Four Songs EP would have been close to the top. I loved the moody atmosphere Dan Carney created over the short four songs that didn’t make the cut onto his debut album, Hollow Ponds.

Carney’s first single of the new year, “In My Direction”, is probably one of my favorite tracks off Hollow Ponds (which I’ve finally gotten a chance to listen to). His breathy vocals and acoustic guitar are reminiscent of Elliott Smith while the pianos and woodwinds remind me a bit of Wilco’s “How to Fight Loneliness”. A taut, echoing beat kicks off the track before the guitars are added in one at a time. More than a minute goes by before the vocals come in, but you won’t even notice the time slipping away. Both the beat and breathy, call back vocals add a dark, unsettling side to the soft, beautiful guitars and pianos leaving the listener feeling a bit uneasy as the song comes to an end. “In My Direction” is a great example of how Carney can make a relatively simple sounding song carry such an emotional weight.

The video for “In My Direction” brings that unsettling sound out by creating some great visuals to match it. Produced by Armenia-based production company, Manana Films, the video follows Armenian actor, Andranik Lavchyan, as he makes his way through the capital of Yerevan. His movements and idiosyncrasies match the music and over all atmosphere of the track perfectly.

What I’m left with after listening to the single and watching the video is a need to go back and revisit both Hollow Ponds and the Four Songs EP, possibly spending a week or two completely immersed in Carney’s soundscape. “In My Direction” is a great representation of what Carney’s work. The cascading vocals and infectious hooks will pull you in and make you completely lose track of time.