PoP RECOMMENDS | POP POWER!!! ASTRAL DRIVE – S/T

Astral Drive is songwriter and producer Phil Thornalley’s vision of a long lost album from the 1970s that only existed in his own mind. A labour of love that is very much the statement of a lifelong music fan living in the modern world. (Official bio)

Thornalley is a vet in the music business and has worked with the likes of The Cure, Psychedelic Furs, The Jam, Duran Duran, Paul McCartney, and Natalie Imbruglia – no doubts about his pedigree, for sure.

This eponymous debut album truly sounds like it could have been made and released in the early 70s. Soulful keyboard-based pop-rock that transports the listener to a different time and place, provided you are older than fifty!

Earlier this year, we were all treated to first single – “Summer of ’76” – which set the tone wonderfully for the full length and the remaining songs do not disappoint at all.

“Wishing I Could Change the World”, “Child of the Universe” and the title track are all similarly faithful to Thornalley’s stated 70s pop agenda.

In fact, Thornalley succeeds in channeling Todd Rundgren’s early work, with a hint of Rundgren’s Philly soul colleagues viz. Daryl Hall and John Oates, The Stylistics, The Delfonics et al, in the mix as well.

Sometimes this evocation of Rundgren is so spot on that the music comes across a bit like a pastiche – which I am sure was never Thornalley’s intent.

But that is a very minor quibble when the music is as good as that on Astral Drive.

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