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Astronomy Class

Exit Strategy

(Elefant Traks; US: Available as import; UK: Available as import; Australia release date: 30 Sep 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.

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Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


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