In the 2016 Urbanista review of Astle’s Live At The Nordic EP Urbanista stated that if the Southport songwriter could take the vulnerability of his live recordings into a studio production, then it would be something special. Safe to say, we were right. The Full of Wonder EP is exactly what it says on the tin. An older sound to the previous, more polished, but all the while keeping sensitivity and the emotive as its backbone.
Starting slow and dusty – think the American West – and then bursting into life, the first track, I Was Just Getting There is an atmospheric introduction to this EP and a long awaited extension of the last. Similar enough to know it’s Astles, different enough to surprise. The second track, Nights Strange, picks up the pace with a rhythmic snare, cute guitar interludes and the searching vocals Astles has made his signature.
The diamond of the EP is track four, Death Is Love. Full of transitions – key and tempo – the song has flashes of Ben Howard, as well as Astles big inspiration, Jeff Buckley. Filled with texture, the track merges orchestral strings, percussion, bass, fleeting guitar and then smooth, extended riffs. Add to this the trademark haunting vocals and you arrive at one of the best tracks to come out of Liverpool in a long time.
When asked about his up-coming projects in our 2016 interview, Astles stated he was looking to produce more mature work. This focus is clear in Full Of Wonder. Live at The Nordic was impressive because it seemed like it came from a man of more years than eighteen, and even though Dan is now a year older, Full of Wonder is impressive for the same reason. A work of texture, maturity and informed songwriting, this EP is a testament to Astles as a musician, to the work he puts in, and to Liverpool as a city. We are privileged to call the hotly tipped star one of our own.
Get tickets to the EP Launch (22nd November @ District) here: