The Asteroid No.4
Stalwarts of the modern ‘psych’ scene, California-based psychedelic-rock legends The Asteroid No.4 are set to release new album ‘Tones of the Sparrow’ on the 25th March via Club AC30. Heavily inspired by the UK shoegaze scene including My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride and early Verve, the band takes its name from Vesta, the brightest asteroid in our solar system, and a nod to psychedelic space rock band Spacemen 3.
The Asteroid No.4 have never shied away from wearing their influences squarely on their sleeves but with ‘Tones of the Sparrow’, the band edge towards the more psychedelic side of the genre. “It's all guitar rock and more specifically, it's all psychedelic rock, and we have a tendency to move around within that. At the end of the day, we just write a batch of songs and depending on where we are in our heads, lives, etc., sometimes they vary greatly and other times there is a much stronger cohesiveness among them.”
Releasing their debut album ‘Introducing’ in 1997, ‘Tones of the Sparrow’ will be The Asteroid No.4’s eleventh studio album and comes 25 years after the release of their debut. Known for their rich, multi-textured guitars, reverb-drenched vocal harmonies and unwavering rhythm section, the band have built a loyal, dedicated fanbase and with well over a dozen compilation appearances, digital-only rarity releases, and multiple singles and EPs, The Asteroid No.4 put their longevity down to friendship. “It’s been so long now, that it seems as natural as family. We're all very close, so we're in a situation where being in this band happens to also be doing something creative with our very best friends. We're all on, for the first time in a long time, the same level on what we want the band to sound like and truly admire what everyone else's part is.”
Originating from Philadelphia in the latter half of the 1990s, the band relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011, and have recently undergone a line-up change giving the band a fresh dose of creativity, enthusiasm, and excitement for the next phase of the band. “It’s a feeling we haven’t really felt for many years. It's not that we haven't had a solid group over recent years, but this is the first time where the like-mindedness and excitement to work on something together has been so uninhibited and enjoyable. So as a result has come a spark in songwriting from across the entire group. Everyone is bringing ideas, whether they're just a seed for a song, a melody, or something far more developed.”
From the cosmic riffage of album opener ‘Emma’, to the chugging, psychedelic noise rumblings of album title track ‘Tones of the Sparrow’ and shimmering new single ‘Set You Sights’, The Asteroid No.4 tap into a sound that sound-tracked their youth. “The last two years have not been easy for any of us, so to go back to the specific sound that connects us to a better, easier moment in life seems like a pretty normal thing to do at times like this. For us, a band that started in the 90s and who were teenagers at the height of the time of the shoegaze scene, that's what our roots are.”
Elsewhere, there’s a dark, intense aesthetic to the melancholic ‘Chameleon’ while ‘I'm Not The Enemy’ and ‘A Castle Built For Two’ meld '60s psychedelia and catchy dreampop before the deeply melodic ‘Somewhere in the Middle’ and ethereal ‘Transmission’ close an impressive collection of songs from one of the psych scenes’ best loved bands.
The Asteroid No.4 are Eric Harms; guitar, Scott Vitt; guitar, vocals, Matty Rhodes; bass guitar, vocals, Camilla Saufley; keys, guitar, vocals and Mark Tarlton; drums, percussion.