Astro: Chicos de la Luz
Astro’s self titled debut in 2012 was a revelation, an album thoroughly danceable that it overcomes any language barrier. It astonished me in its delicious sounds and synths. While Astro is compared to MGMT and Passion Pit, the band is neither nebulous nor obtusely acerbic, but is rather quite clear in its intentions to make anyone dance with joy.
Astro’s next album, Chicos de la Luz, is another example of well crafted pop perfection. While their earlier album has the buoyant energy of summer (with even some chip tune elements popping up in the excellent track Manglares), Astro cools it down a bit for this newer release, opting for some smoother grooves this time around. The first track, Uno, illustrates this well. A (comparatively) longer track, it slowly builds up its drums and synths. Exclamations are produced perfectly within song to be a part of the music, rather than separate.
It’s this condensing in the producing that marks this album distinctively different from its predecessor. In many ways, this feels like Astro has matured as a band. The mixing on this album is clear and bright. Chicos de la Luz is a step up in production in terms of tightening up any excess from the songs. Gone are the emphatic shouts of the previous album, replaced instead by calmer singing. While the band’s natural effervescence is somewhat hampered through this tighter production, I must say this newer album is much easier to read and study to.
Whereas Astro was an explosion of synths for the highlight of the dance, Chicos de la Luz takes it down a notch with cooler grooves for the dreamy afterparty. It’s a solid release, and currently available to listen to for free on youtube.