Following on from their impressive debut album Post Modern Conspiracy, UK electro goth punks Calling All Astronauts confirm their potent presence within British electro rock with the invigorating Red Flag EP. A track which shone upon their full length release as one of the year’s best electro punk anthems, the London based trio revamp and re-ignite its already mighty presence with a full blaze of inventive explorations. Consisting of five full-bodied investigations for the cost of a single track, the Red Flag EP is a magnetic persuasion to inspire all musical appetites.
Since emerging in 2011 the band has sculpted a rich position in the goth/electro punk scene with a lyrical attack and sound which crosses and merges those elements and more skilfully and distinctly, whilst their live performances has pulled in equal acclaim with the band sharing stages with the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen, PWEI, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and A Place To Bury Strangers whilst also headlining and selling out Alan Magee’s Death2Disco at Notting Hill Arts Club. As shown with previous singles such as Someone Like You and What’s So Good About?, and across the impressively confronting Post Modern Conspiracy, the threesome of David B (vocals, keys, programming), J Browning (guitar), and Kristi Bury (bass) take no prisoners lyrically and musically and Red Flag is no exception. Following the progress of the band has bred the thought that it is time for the band to make the next step up and this EP alongside their recent album might just be the spark needed.
The release opens with the In Your Bass Mix of the title track, a thumping brew of rhythmic provocation and scarring guitar driven by the caustic delivery of David B. There is a schizophrenic breath to the mix, a St. Vitus’ Dance rabidity to the sonic squall and a rhythm casting enslavement to the heavily boned goth rock bruising. It is an excellent start, a version which easily challenges and matches the original cut of the track which follows in its Single Edit form straight after. A more restrained presence is uncaged by the band with a Sisters Of Mercy/Play Dead like throat to the vocals and a deep pulsating bass shadow wrapping the fiery guitar play. Red Flag is a song easily accessible but one taking the listener through almost cavernous resonating realms, whichever version you frequent, whilst a lyrical incitement hits home without over playing its touch. It is a compelling blend, one impossible to resist.
Next up comes the Gothstep Mix and the E39 NYC Club Edit of the track, the first an industrial stalked version which brings a Gary Numan like breath alongside almost bedlamic electro surges and squeals, and the second an incendiary dancefloor stomp which has feet in league with its sonic fascination. Both tracks add something different to the song but neither manages to match the heights of the first two or the following album version of the track. Expanded to its full glory, the final track is ultimately the best version of Red Flag though it is easy to take either of the main versions of the track and give them equal lustful responses.
If the Red Flag is your introduction to Calling All Astronauts there is no finer a way to walk through their creative door and if already a fan, the release makes a stirring and impressive companion to their must have album.
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