Jumpship Astronaut is a four-piece (formerly a five-piece) electronic and dance music group that has a few indie pop/rock tendencies. The band seems to be relatively popular within its own community, and performs frequently in its hometown of Oklahoma City and nearby Tulsa. Jumpship Astronaut is Ryan Bryant on lead vocals and guitar, Chris Bourland managing the synths, Scott Dunn on bass as well as aiding with the synths, and Kris Davis on drums. They are a relatively new band that formed almost exactly two years ago. Despite being a somewhat newer, young band, they have already been attracting quite a bit of attention; having the local Oklahoma Gazette newspaper publish an article on them just a little after a year of their formation. They have yet to achieve national recognition and break out of Oklahoma, but with the release of their debut EP “Lights Burn Out”, on April 1st of last year, they are certainly progressing and being as proactive as possible.
“Lights Burn Out” is an EP that certainly doesn’t fall short of its expectations, but nobody is going to be pinning a blue ribbon on it either. In essence, you get what you expect from an electronic album: songs that are great to dance to. This band is at their best when they are riding a big house beat accompanied by buzzing synth leads and a nice steady bass line that keeps everything together. The lyrics are nothing spectacular, but really don’t have to be. Everything just sounds really catchy when Jumpship Astronaut is on point and it makes you want to get up and dance; which is the chief objective of this album anyway. It would certainly be a great album to play at a club, assuming that we wanted an alternative to dub-step. There are a few similarities between this band and Passion Pit; another newer band that also has a lot of synth work and catchy dance-style motifs. The first track on the EP “Lights Burn Out” is called “Romanticize”. It has everything that could be expected in a dance/electronic song; catchy melody, interesting effects, etc. About thirty seconds in, there is a synth that sounds a lot like the ones used by 70s prog rockers Emerson, Lake and Palmer , which is kind of cool. There is nothing particularly special about the track; it has a little piano, a little guitar, a pleasant voice, and couple of synth breaks. The best parts on this EP, however, are probably the choruses during “Something To Outrun”, and “Kaleidoscopes”. This is great club and dancing music. Very infectious. Lead synths are super hot in “Something to Outrun” and mimic a really big horn section, almost like a fiery disco tune in the seventies, or all the euro-dance music that was big in the nineties. When I was listening, I just kept thinking of Haddaway and that song “What is Love?”. It was like any second I was expecting the lights to dim in my room and a giant disco ball to slowly descend out of my ceiling and start spinning. “Kaleidoscopes” is much of the same, just a four minute long euro-dance track with a fiery chorus. House beats, buzzy synths with very major-driven melodies, and simple but catchy vocals: the formula for great Jumpship Astronaut music.
As was stated several times before. This is a dance album. Nothing more, really. Your not exactly going to get the lyrical quality of Neil Young when you listen to this. But that is to be expected. The musicianship is okay, these guys obviously know how to put a catchy tune together and get people moving, but beyond that, I’m not sure. Ryan Bryant’s voice is okay, but not brilliant, and his guitar work is very light. Every now and then he has a little melody thing or he bangs out some fast chords, but a lot of the time the guitar is almost inaudible or not being played. If I listen very carefully, sometimes I can hear what I think is his guitar tucked way back in the right or left channel of headphones. Long story short, not a guitar legend. The synths seem to do almost all the work. I suppose this really isn’t a problem, accept for the fact that the synths themselves can be really annoying at times. The best example of this is the beginning and the verse part of “Something to Outrun”. The song has a great dance chorus, but the beginning has this weird, choppy, broken sounding synth that is doing a rhythm over the vocals and drums. I can’t pin it down exactly, but the drums and the computerized synth sound just a hair out of time. It is kind of aggravating after a while. Ryan Bryant is singing while all this is going on and it sounds peculiar and unbalanced. I know after the dub-step/Skrillex craze broken audio sounds are popular right now; but this one is just annoying.
“Lights Burn Out” is a great album to put on your stereo if you want to throw a big party, but not the best thing to listen to at home, in your favorite chair, with your headphones. It is great if your album shelves are full of F.U.N, Passion Pit, or Haddaway; but not a great album if your album shelves are full of Jethro Tull, Neil Young, and Deep Purple. Jumpship Astronaut is four energetic young guys that, from what I can tell, really like to party, dance, and have a good time: they also happen to be decent at playing instruments. Sure, this album may not hold any revelations or musical genius, but its fun. And whats wrong with fun?
Genre: Indie Pop/Dance/Electronic
Sounds Like: Passion Pit, Haddaway
Best Songs: Something To Outrun, Kaleidoscopes
by Owen Matheson of Indie Music Media
Edited by Mindy McCall
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