God Is an Astronaut: Origins

God Is an Astronaut: Origins

(Rocket Girl, 9/17/13)

"Spiral Code"


Ireland’s God Is an Astronaut may fit the broader “post-rock” categorization — one that can apply to bands as varied as Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Don Caballero, and Tortoise — but it does so with four-minute tunes that emphasize electronics, melody, and pedals on pedals on pedals.

For the band’s seventh studio LP, twin brothers Torsten and Niels Kinsella — not to be confused with Kinsella bros Tim and Mike (no relation) of Cap’n Jazz and Owls — effectively reversed their songwriting process. Starting with Torsten recording hours of guitar experiments, made using 80 to 90 boutique effects, the band built songs around the noise and timbres instead of adding them to completed songs.

Perhaps most notable, however, is the use of vocals on half of the album. With a sort of “Mogwai treatment,” the effects-laden vocals float in and out, hazily, sung either by Torsten or Pat O’Donnell of Irish rock band The Fountainhead. They help to convey the range of emotions that the album’s creator endured during its making, and the result is uplifting, depressing, and places between.