Sound — 7
God Is An Astronaut is a post-rock, ambient band hailing from Ireland that has officially been rocking the world since 2002. "Origins" is the band's seventh album. "Origins" is a mixture of a wide swath of genres from post-hardcore to shoegaze. While there are vocals present, the lyrics are not discernible. In fact, the vocals on this album are quite comparable to those on a shoegaze album. Since there are no vocals, a large burden is placed on the other instruments to fill the void. And, well, the other instruments certainly fill the void, by dragging the listener into a deeper, ambient, endless void that mirrors shoegazing like the vocals. This is one of those albums where it's best to shut your eyes and let the album take you. There is really no other way to experience the album effectively. On that note, the aim of God Is An Astronaut, in my considered but not infallible opinion, is to create an experience. Not a sing along circle or a head-pounding mosh pit, but a surreal, sincere experience. The type of experience where the listener floats on a cloud and then travels through a dozen or so dimensions of thought and feeling that can only be described as psychedelic. God is an Astronaut also aims to incorporate many distinct musical styles and directions into this experience in a risky effort to be innovative. Risky because most albums fall flat on their face trying to mix genres. Risky because the tried and true genres are exactly as they are defined, yet many musicians can't be satisfied with them even when their audience might be. God Is An Astronaut took the risk to be innovative and came out much better, in my opinion, than most other bands do. This album is a successful blending of genres that is surely innovative. They've earned a point for their second goal. The problem is with their first goal. The only handicap on this aim is that it is certainly not unique. Since this aim, this auditory goal has become somewhat commonplace in the last few years, it would take an extraordinary amount of talent and luck to create an album that can achieve the same magnitude of an experience that could have been achieved a few years ago, before this became a trend. The competition has increased. And the "surreal experience" is where this album slightly, only slightly, falls short. Still, with the amount of competition in the "surreal experience," a slight fall is enormous. While it's easy to become immersed in the sea of tremoloed, delayed guitars and silky keyboards, those papery cymbals and enveloping toms it's just as easy to stop and realize that this album is nothing special. The album just doesn't have the "it" factor to push it forward. On the one hand, this is a surreal experience. On the other hand, the album is just a cacophony of guitar, keyboard, and reverb. The result is bound to be different for everyone.
Lyrics — 7
As I mentioned before, the vocals have been affected so that they sound like a synthesizer, much like vocals predominantly heard in shoegazing. Also like shoegazing, there are few, if any, discernible lyrics. The vocals serve to add texture and ambiance to the already textured waves of sound that course through the album.
Overall Impression — 7
The best thing about this album is how God Is An Astronaut seamlessly weaves the passages of this album together. "Origins" presents passages and songs (though this is more of an album than a collection of songs) interlaced with diverse influences stretching across multiple genres, a quality either absent from or absentmindedly injected into most albums.