Astra Heights – Good Problems

Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Tyrone Castanho

Good Problems is the ambitious debut album of the Los Angeles-based pop-rock outfit Astra Heights. The group’s Western style of pop-rock has drawn comparisons to The Beatles and early 90′s Oasis. The group’s foundation, the four Morales brothers, teamed up with pop-rock producer David Kahne to produce an album splattered across the board with ranged melodies and rhythmic guitar hooks, backed by Clash-like bass lines.

The album is, for the majority, a pop album centred around the staples of heartache and women. However, there are instances in which Astra Heights show no hesitation to probe the uncertainty of present-day politics, with songs such as ‘The March’ conveying a strained frustration. Mark Morales, the elder brother and frontman, possesses the coaxing vocals reminiscent of many London pop-rock outfits before him but takes his foot off the pedal every now and then. A stand-out ballad of sorts, ‘It’s Alright’ starts off with the echoed reverberations of a lone guitar and subdued vocal lead, eventually leading into a violin-backed track that certainly draws correlations to either Blur or Oasis. The album on a whole has the feel of the late-60′s with modern production and direction, proven with the track ‘Call To The Underground.’

Astra Heights provides each brother with the chance to draw on their own individual musical experiences in a collaborated effort to produce a well-made pop-rock album. The melodies and rhythms are precisely hooked and will induce involuntary toe-taps or at the very least uncoordinated finger drumming. Good Problems also does enough to please indie-rock fans searching for a throwback perspective and proves promising for this new group.