Astro Boy - The Phoenix Manchester - 12.1.07

With The Maple State breaking out of Manchester's cloying rock scene, Astro Boy look set to do the same with a sound which is much more than the sum of its influences. It's been a long time since Designer Magazine last saw Astro Boy supporting Boy Kill Boy last summer at Academy 3 and since then they've gone onto support Captain and are currently half way through recording their debut album which will become one of those classic Manchester albums of the next 12 months.

"By Your Side" is the first of several new songs tonight's and this towering powerful beast is worthy of anything The Arcade Fire has released. It's when they launch into the now familiar "Rotoscope" that you realize just how much this band have changed since we first saw them 18 months ago, Vocally Elliot Williams has grown so much and the backing vocals now resemble a full on football crowd rather than an emo choir. What follows is a collection of songs which take in huge massive punk riffs, "Kids", songs bigger than the Killers second album on "Up Tight" and a ballad which really sets the standard in "Following You".

Ending on "So After All", a song that's destined to smash the Top 40 by the end of the year and is better than anything the mainstream music press is tipping for 2007. We've always known Astro Boy had the potential to be an amazing band and now they're finally delivering on that potential. It wont be long now....

Alex McCann

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