An alternative rock record with note-worthy album artwork, “Too Close to the Noise Floor” definitely brings the noise as the debut release by studio band Astral Cloud Ashes.
As far as debuts go, “Too Close to the Noise Floor” is notable in the sense that it’s fun to listen to, especially if you’re a fan of Sorority Noise’s “Joy, Departed” sound. Guitar layering and impeccable lyricism is what makes the record stand out. From the fun instrumental vibes of “Our Holiday” to Yoko Ono mentions in “Avant Blah!”, these elements are hard to pass by.
The album opener, “The Man I Had to Become”, has a funky little few seconds of sounding like the opener to Helena by My Chemical Romance. However, a short guitar interlude and whispering, deft vocals later, the alternative indie vibes are in full force, and the six-minute track quickly gives insight into the deep lyricism the rest of the album withholds. The line “You know it makes me mad, the way we’re living”, offers a reflective moment while simultaneously giving way to the rest of the album’s messages.
Probably my favorite lines of the album comes from “Get Real”, a fun guitar and drum-heavy track about a relationship. Strangely relatable, the line “I apologize if your friends thought I was weird and thought you were weird by extension” makes me feel for vocalist Antony Walker. Plus, “I’m changing lanes, I’m listening to Morrissey and Alice in Chains” was just a fun way to begin the track.
The title track, “Too Close to the Noise Floor”, has prominent background vocals (done by Jason Neil) and is nothing short of a good time, with noise synth and a throwback vibe carrying throughout. “Grateful for the Ghost in our House” had the most effective use of guitar layering I’ve heard in a long time, and the programming sounds only accompanied them and made the vocals stand out after a mid-song guitar solo.
“Flashback” and “Lites” are two tracks that paint beautiful visuals lyrically and take different turns with the guitar heaviness. They’re more delicate and pop in a way, and shows the diversity of the album. My two favorites, “Housing in a Bubble” and “Our Holiday” are so because of the heavier rock vibe they give off. Anything reminiscent of the 90’s alternative vibe I fall in love with, and the last two tracks on the album do it for me.
Having already gained recognition by BBC and having heavy rotation on YouTube, Astral Cloud Ashes has already received great reception with “Too Close to the Noise Floor”, and is releasing new music in February. Don’t pass up on this compelling listen!