Monday, January 11, 2016
Peter Astor - Spilt Milk
The poignant and self-effacing "Mr. Music" previously was released as a single, and I've sung its praises here and here. The sly "My Right Hand" adds an upbeat country rock twist. The fourth song is the quiet and exquisite "Perfect Life", which always gets at least two replay presses from me. The first half of the album ends with the chugging "The Getting There".
The second half of the album commences with one of my favorites, "Very Good Lock", which refers to the narrator's penchant for keeping his feelings locked inside. "Good Enough" is a spiritual cousin to classic country laments. Spilt Milk closes with three excellent folk pop songs, "There It Goes", "Sleeping Tiger", and "Oh You". Of the three, "Oh You" probably would win the most votes as one of the album's stronger tracks, but a sign of Astor's consistency as a songwriter is that it wouldn't be a unanimous choice. For me, this is the kind of album that finds its way into almost permanent rotation in my collection. The songs are simple, but infused with keen observations and years of experience.
In addition to Peter Astor, the players on the album include James Hoare (Veronica Falls, Ultimate Painting, The Proper Ornaments), who played multiple instruments and recorded the album in his flat, Pam Berry, Jack Hayter, Alison Cotton, Robin Christian, and Susan Milanovic. When he isn't writing and performing music, Astor teaches, researches and writes about music as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster. He also has written about the album Blank Generation by Richard Hell and the Voidoids for the Bloomsbury 33 1/3 series.
Spilt Milk is out now via Slumberland Records in North America and Fortuana POP! in UK/Europe.