True Capacity

Written by: PP on 27/08/2018 21:37:14

Ever since the release of "Efforts & Means", Astpai has been arguably the best punk band from mainland Europe. Two years later, they released a modern classic in "Burden Calls" that echoed all the best elements off bands like The Flatliners, The Lawrence Arms, and None More Black while maintaining their unique, progressive twist to the punk rock formula. To say they are criminally underappreciated is an understatement because these two albums are the kinds of releases that put you on the map internationally and leave a lasting mark in melodic punk history. Had they been released in the late 90s, they'd be headlining big clubs at this time, but alas, that is the struggle of an upcoming band from mainland Europe vs those in the UK or across the pond.

With "True Capacity", the band make yet another stab at convincing the wider punk scene why the name ASTPAI should be on everyone's lips. Dark, gravelly punk rock tunes drenched in progressive, challenging melodies (think Morning Glory style), yet encapsulated in just enough memorable lines and catchy riffs to leave a lasting impression. Not much has changed from the last two records, which is a godsend because it means we are still witnesses to the dark, melodic beauty of their gravelly punk rock just in the form of new tunes. Zock's croon is still charismatically scratchy, best highlighted on a track like "No Hero" that explores his whole range from the soothing cleans to louder, piercing croons that come just close enough to the border of screaming without actually doing so to create that magical moment of passion that rubs onto the listener.

Elsewhere, tracks like "Rotten Bait" and "Lottery" explore the slower and more quirky realms of punk rock, whilst "Feel Your Pain" is a Menzingers style anthem with huge sing-along potential at basement style, intimate venues where this type of music is at its best. One thing that has always set Astpai apart from their peers is the sense of depth in their songs, and a song like this one and the aforementioned "No Hero" do well to expose the complex structure in their songs in a more easily accessible manner. The numerous tempo changes, the quiet/loud dynamics, and the subtle lyricism together add an extra twist to the standard punk formula, so those of you looking for more challenge than just three chords in your punk rock songs, Astpai could become your new favorite band. Think of them as a darker and more progressive version of "Dookie"-era Green Day, which is perhaps best on display on "Saving Up" which has an opening riff that's near-identical to "Having A Blast" from said album.

Much like its predecessors, "True Capacity" is, therefore, a grower. One or two listens does not do the record enough justice, as the songs improve on each listen due to the sheer amount of detail in them. And while not quite as brilliant as "Burden Calls", "True Capacity" is yet another extremely consistent release from a band that should have ten times the amount of followers they have today. The secret gem of European punk rock does not disappoint.


Download: Feel Your Pain, Rotten Bait, No Hero, Falling Trees, Lottery
For the fans of: The Flatliners, The Lawrence Arms, None More Black, Star Fucking Hipsters
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.06.2018
Jump Start Records / Shield Recordings

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