ASTREA REDUX
SO VERY DISTANT
DOUBLE ALBUM SYNTHETIC SYMPHONY RELEASE: OCTOBER 25, 1999 REVIEW: DECEMBER 14, 1999


No matter how updated you think you are, there always seems to be bands youíve never heard of, lurking in the shadows. Astrea Redux is such a band.
The promo material claims thereís no getting around Astrea Redux for fans of Japan, Ultravox or Gary Numan. I, however, am not that sure.
The first of the two discs consists of sampled bits of their career, from both the eighties and the nineties and the other is a blend of the two main figures of the band, Axel Treusch and Oliver MŁnch, and their different musical excursions. And sure, sometimes itís quite reminiscent of Ultravox. But without any real structure, just pompous without anchorage, songs with scattered vocals thrown in. Never even close to masterpieces like "Vienna" or "Hymn".
Still, some of the songs are interesting. Especially the bonus tracks on the second CD, with a different singer and that special new romantic feel to them.
Itís very refreshing, in a paradox kind of way though, to hear bands trying to do something in this particular style of music and "So Very Distant" is at least a little bit exciting. Not to the extent one could hope for, but tracks like "Sei Allein", "The Fall" and "Timemachine" reveal moments of greatness. Also, an extra bonus point to Astrea Redux for having worked with "Mr Underpass", John Foxx.

NIKLAS FORSBERG