The second single from Astronauts of Antiquity’s forthcoming EP Beyond the Maze, “Future Back”, builds on the impressive success of the EP’s first single “Paradise”. The same distinctive elements are still in place – Astronauts of Antiquity write fantastic arrangements for their material that explore many textures, produce irresistible tempos, and engage listeners with serious minded material that never panders to listeners. This profoundly musical and artistically inclined outfit, consisting of vocalist India, guitarist B. Rhyan and programmer Ivica, are always looking in their songs to plumb a little deeper than your customary unit in this genre while still making a substantive musical statement and they certainly succeed here.
The robotic voiceover opening quickly segues into a steady mid-tempo electronica pulse interspersed with tense slashes of B. Rhyan’s guitar. Astronauts of Antiquity do a superb job of invoking the bright airiness needed to entertain their audience while still embodying the longing found in the lyrics. Like “Paradise”, “Future Back” never overstays its welcome. The trio set various goals for themselves with this song, including resisting any self-indulgence, and they succeed spectacularly. This is a song pared down to its essentials and it connects with listeners from the first minute onward.
The song’s lyrical content is much more personal than on the trio’s first single “Paradise”. It is quite possible to find evidence of their social concerns alluded to and implied in the words, but no matter how you cut it, the song represents much more of an earnest effort to connect with listeners on a micro, rather than macro, level. India’s vocals do a fantastic job of physically embodying the fierce longing in the lyric and shows careful attention to tailoring her vocals to the backing track.
The musical approach is layered and consistent throughout. The production stresses a balance between the various instruments with no one sound exerting dominance over the rest. Undoubtedly, programmer and sonic auteur Ivica is responsible for much of the quality in this area, but even a brief listen should assure the more astute that the clarity of their artistic vision is the true reason why their creative flame burns so brightly.
Few bands or musical units ever completely deliver on their press. However, when Astronauts of Antiquity advertises themselves as purveyors of luminous electronica soundscapes, involving dance rhythms, incandescent pop melodies, and challenging lyrical material, they aren’t underplaying their skills or accomplishments. This is a modern pop trio more than capable of defining their times while still expressing their deepest hope and dread with fearless musical creativity and a questioning spirit. Whether it is the world at large or the everyday struggles of one life, Astronauts of Antiquity never settles for the mundane or vanilla. Instead, this Los Angeles-based collective is intent on pushing the envelope and it’s music lovers who reap the rewards of their bravery. “Future Back” is everything a listener can want from modern pop music and more.