(Rainbow Quartz, 2006)
Quite a surprise to see this one sitting in the sales racks in 2006. After skidding off the road into country-rock territory for the Honeyspot debacle three years earlier, I’d figgered Asteroid #4 for dead. Not so! These songs straddle the dense guitar-psych of the earliest material and the bright, peppy pop of King Richard’s Collectibles; even if it’s a retreat, it’s a definite step back in the right direction. Unfortunately, the hooks aren’t nearly up to snuff and the lyrics, as always, remain dreadful (one boneheaded verse is built on an around/down/found rhyme), so this doesn’t quite take gold in the comeback sweeps. Still, non-LP B-side “What I Really Want to Do,” the stronger of the two tracks, is passable dream/space-informed altpop with unusually fine singing, and it would’ve stood at least a fighting chance on college radio or 120 Minutes fifteen years ago.