There’s a fine line between winsome and wet, eccentric and affected, but Pete Astor is clearly a skillful tightrope walker. Together with multi-instrumentalist David Sheppard, he’s crafted another album of perfectly pitched DIY pop.
On Torch Division, the pair have dispensed with the lo-fi electronica that distinguished their previous House Of Binary album to the margins, where it fizzes and twitters only intermittently. The emphasis is now on Astor’s songs?sweetly mournful snapshots of the mundane and the miraculous fleshed out with idiosyncratic instrumentation. “Chicken” recalls a malevolent Tom Waits, while elsewhere Neil Young, Calexico and Mazzy Star make their presence felt.
An album of great warmth, engaging oddness and real, ramshackle charm.