Norway - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 23 - 09/06/98
Quite Obscure and Practically Marzipan
So, Oslo's finest fuzzpop-burgers celebrate their 11th anniversary, by releasing
a compilation-LP of, and a presentation of some of their works during the years
1987-1997. The title says about everything; Quite Obscure and Practically Marzipan
(named after a poem by Beat-poet Mervyn Peake) is just the right description for
Astroburger; they are obscure, and too much of them is like having too much
marzipan. You know, it's mmm so good as long as you don't exaggerate the doses. But
even if you get sick, you'll have a good time accompanied by the lot.
Astroburger has been true to the tradition of fuzzy and jangly, ragged and naive
DIY garage-pop through a line of releases that count the albums Venus Beach
(1991, split-album with Monsters of Doom a.k.a. The Tables), I Used To Be Mod
(1992), In Orbit (1994) and Stand On It (1996). They've been through
quite some line-up changes over the years, but mainman, singer / guitarist / writer / painter
Geir Grim Stadheim has kept on with his quest for the pop-song. Obscure/Marzipan
is a collection of demos, out-takes, alternate takes and live-cuts, all in all 17 tracks that
sort of draws a picture of what Astroburger is, and has been about. They do a cover-version
of Blondie's Dreaming on the record. Debbie Harry is even in the picture-collage of
friends and faces inside the gatefold sleeve, as one of their many heroes and sources of
inspiration I guess. To name but a few: Brian Wilson, Sean Connery, Kevin Keegan(!?), Spock,
ABBA, Cassius Clay, Batman, Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles.
The album also includes an oddity called Fred von Jupiter; sung in German, sounding
like a bizarre mixture of...I don't know. Strange. Something from the once planned Astroburger
rock-opera, or what? And of course there's as usual an instrumental tune, Dr. Schwab's Experiment,
but it's hard for Astroburger to match their own legendary Lada 1500.
Finest moments: the sincere I Want To Be Alone, the excellent pop-songs The Lantern Light
- a song The Tables once recorded, She's A Girl (which was, paired with The Lantern Light,
Astroburger's debut-single) and Fool Fourself. Honorable mention: the raw and simple live-version
of A Picture of Dorian Gray (by Television Personalities), and, also a raw live-take of the
brilliantly catchy Gentian Violet. The latter another song recorded by The Tables (on their
Shady Whims & Obstacles album). Astroburger will always be enjoyable company. Hey, your music
made me dance topless on-stage at a concert some years (or; many years!) ago, remember?
Congratulations. Long live Astroburger!
Copyright © 1998 Håvard Oppøyen