Calling All Astronauts
‘Welcome to the Black Bloc’
London’s high-flying electro punks, Calling All Astronauts, are back with their blistering new single, ‘Welcome to the Black Bloc.’ Formed in the wake of the dissolution of Caffeine and the Marionettes, David B (vocals & programming), Paul McCrudden (bass) and JJ Browning (guitars) had all played together in US:UK. And they formed CAA, releasing their début album, Post Modern Conspiracy in 2013.
I first came across them last year, on Twitter, and that led me to their 2019 ep, Influences, which presented four covers of four artists who had an impact on them. I was particularly impressed with their takes on Gary Numan’s ‘Are Friends Electric?; and Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water.’ The latter song in particular is one that is almost a rock’n’roll spoof at this point, but they rescued it.
The describe ‘Welcome to the Black Bloc’ as ‘an Anti-Fascist anthem for those who are tired of the populists targeting minority groups and are willing to stand against them.’ This is a call to arms.
Working with producer Alan Branch, who has manned the board for such luminaries as U2, Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails (and collected two Grammies for his efforts), CAA have created a burning, seething, vicious track. Browning’s guitars grind and seethe in that industrial sound, McCrudden’s bass thunders, David B’s drum machine and synth drive the track. But, for me, David B’s vocals that make the band, and allow them to separate from their industrial punk peers. He’s got a voice reminiscent of Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy) and David Gahan (Depeche Mode), though not as deep as those two. Rather, he’s got a sort of burned out sound to him that fits our times and our place.
Their new album, #Resist, is out 5 July. I can’t wait.