The Asteroid #4 is one of those groups that, as the saying goes, plays its record collection. Which is generally fine with me, because it has always seemed like there’s a lot of overlap when it comes to our fave-raves (but what was with that dire country-rock album, doodz??). The band ties its wagon to the early-90s shoegazers on its debut single, focusing on volume and density of sound as opposed to the strictly Floydian space-cadet moves the fellas would soon be pulling. This record actually sounds quite similar to Philly pals the Lilys’ contemporaneous Eccsame the Photon Band album – and whoa, DIG IT, the Asteroid #4 would work with Kurt Heasley in the studio and follow his group into Brit Invasion territory a few years down the road.
“The CIA Took My Dog Away,” with the gentle, quavering guitars of its verses and the churning, distorted guitars of the choruses, is your basic yet successful shoegaze-pop construction, and a fine way to kick off a career …even if those reverbed-to-death vocals are a bit much. On a rather less interesting note, the first half of “Mellow Beach” drifts and throbs, barely there, before the effects-laden guitars come rushing in to boot ya in the pants for the last few minutes. While neither song has anything of note going in terms of originality or structure (and “Mellow Beach” isn’t much melodically, either), it’s hard to be too grumpy about anything that gives you a few blasts of satisfying MBV-lite. Buck up; it’s a fine mess o’ aural comfort food.