Astrakan - Comets and Monsters. 2012 England

While the first album stayed completely in the underground, at least Astrakan's latest album Comets and Monsters is slightly more accessible, being readily available from online retailers. Musically the band stray further towards the jazz end of the Canterbury spectrum. Adding female vocalist and keyboardist Celia Lu has defined their new direction. She sings in a higher pitched fashion - perhaps even pseudo operatic at times - similar to Dagmar Krause. But with a Chinese accent. It's a bit bizarre to say the least. I personally wish they'd exploit their rock abilities, but it seems Astrakan are more intent to stay within the jazz idiom. Henry Cow circa In Praise of Learning is a major influence on Comets and Monsters, but without the annoying tuneless improvisations, thus endearing the band more to my tastes.

Personal collection
CD: 2012 Jaguar Steps

Last listen: January 29, 2013

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