[29 November 2006]
Astronomy Class’ selling point is combining reggae beats with Australian-accented hip hop but the truth is many of the Elefant Trax’ stable has played that card, and sometimes, better: the Herd’s excellent The Sun Never Sets utilizes similar beats, one example. Astronomy Class also shares its label-mate’s outrage, though even from the disc’s title it’s clear the target’s offshore. Yes, Bush gets the brunt of it not just from Sage Francis: “Civil war can’t fix New Orleans”? Yup, that’s what they’re talking about. First single “A Bright Tomorrow” continues this feeling, combining outrage and easy reggae-pop into a surprisingly confluent marriage. “Vibe Won’t Stop” is the strongest statement of straight reggae/dub on the record; here’s what you can do with an Aussie accent—wallow in it, to a relaxed beat, enunciating characteristic syllables clearly. This is the beginning of an individual identity, and it’s Exit Strategy‘s best promise. But the guests attest to the group’s youth: Lotek (on “Rewind the Tape” and “Heatseeker”) is a second-rate rapper, delivering slow and without much compulsion. And the dub beats begin to sound pedestrian by halfway through the disc; the three “Tardis Studio Dubs” (minimized vocals) that close the disc seeming to communicate that the band’s run out of lines to rap about, its anger simply evaporated.