Aestrid – BOX (Function Records)

The sound of Aestrid may well have started to evolve some nine years ago within the confines of Bo Menning’s Utrecht bedroom, but to locate the true genesis of this band’s music you would probably have to travel back a further quarter of a century. The seeds of Aestrid’s musical imagination were most surely sown in the early ‘80s with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Ultravox and early New Order amongst the names most likely to have appeared on the birth certificate. As this child developed and learned how to do the indie-shuffle he would fast become the favourite nephew of Slowdive and Radiohead and with their benign influence he would begin to mature from his synthesized pop nascence.

More than two years after the release of the debut album The Echo Resistance, the man into whom Aestrid has grown emerges into this modern world as BOX. Synthesisers, guitar, drums and voices join their often considerable forces across its eleven songs, the grand sweep of their design often unified in a shared belief that the ‘80s never really ended. But it is at those points where Aestrid sheds the skin of its gestation that BOX is at its most interesting. On ‘Fair Start-Fair Hill’ tenderness bleeds into a darker, far more determined statement of intent, and then on the ensuing ‘Telemark’ the addition of a lone female voice to the sound pushes it closer to some Mazzy Star dreamscape than the majority of its earlier primary influences. When these moments are harnessed to the escalating spectral sadness of the concluding ‘So Sorry’ and Aestrid begins to forge something approaching an identity of its own you can start to hear what genuine possibilities there are for the future.

Rating: ★★★½☆

To be released on 15th July 2013 via Function Records

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