I didn’t really like the single that was very popular in 2014, but I can’t recall how it compares to this show. The band consists of a bassist and a keyboardist/electronic drummer and Sam Herring the lyricist/vocalist/melodramatic front man.
It’s odd seeing him sitting casually on the edge of the desk before he starts singing. He seems so mellow and then he sings with a crazily arch voice and unexpected dramatic flourishes.
Given his general appearance and some of the faces he was making I kept thinking that Jack Black would do an aces impersonation of him.
The songs are simple musically–simple keyboard lines and, it must be said, some solid bass holding things down. All the drama comes from the lyrics, like in “On the Water”: “Body of mine, body of Christ, can I be the one who saves your life.”
It’s funny to hear him talk between songs so deadpan and unaffected, before resuming that unusual singing style.
“The Ink Well” has some weird echoing keyboards sounds before the solid bass comes in again. I have a hard time taking his vocals seriously, it seems so over the top. Although the blurb says that “What Future Islands is really going for, with the mordant wit in the lyrics, the melodramatic chord progressions and Herring’s yowling, scratchy voice [I wouldn’t describe it like that, actually], is catharsis. And catharsis can happen in your head and in your heart.” And I do like the line “the ghost of you still haunts me at night and that’s enough to keep me happy, sometimes.”
He says that the second song is hard to song quiet. Perhaps his singing style would work better if the music was bigger, fuller (matching the size of the amp they brought with them).
“Walking Through That Door” works best of the three songs. It is a little faster, with a more propulsive bass and it feels louder, so that Herring’s voice seems to work better. And when he wails his lines at the end it seems appropriate.
Still not sure if I’m a fan, but I appreciate them a little more than I did.
[READ: February 1, 2016] Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity
Both of the libraries that I go to had copies of the second book in this series, and I waited and waited for the first book to be returned, but it just appears that neither one ever arrived. So I finally put in a request for book one (I couldn’t read the second first even if this is from First Second). #10yearsof01
I really didn’t know what this story was about, but I was surprised to discover that it was a series of small incidents (each with an End). Was this a series of single web comics, or is it just a fun way to tell a bigger story? I’ll never know. The whole story is set at the astronaut academy.
As the book opens we see a promotional guide to Astronaut Academy from the principal (who carries a big sword and has big spiky hair). We learn what the school has to offer and we see some of the teachers like Mr Namaguci who has even bigger hair than the principal and “may or may not have magical powers but is still handsome.” There also Señor Panda (still not extinct) who has a secret.
We also see that the application is for Hakata Soy.
Ever few pages a new “episode” starts and each one opens with “My name is.” So in the first one My Name is Hakata Soy newly enrolled at Astronaut Academy.
Hakata also has big spiky hair and he is rapidly assimilated into Astronaut Academy. We also learn about Hakata’s backstory–he is a solider inside the giant transformer Metador who saved the bunny village from destruction. He meets his roommate Tak who is pretending to be tougher than he is.
Next is My Name is Doug Hiro and I go to Astronaut Academy. Doug is basically comic relief as he is constantly in a space suit.
Next is Taketo Sky who teaches at Astronaut Academy. And it is in that class that Hakata meets…
My name is Miyumi San. She is kind and sweet but is in a huge fight with…
My name is Maribelle Mellonbelly and I am the richest and most pretty girl of all at Astronaut Academy. I loved the meta dialogue in this section: “That boy at the table, who I have never seen before is so handsome in a way that makes me ask OUT LOUD who could he be?”
We encounter Miyumi again as she is asked out by Billy Lee who thinks he is hot stuff (who gets shot down brutally). Miyumi has a crush on Mr Namaguchi.
My name is Billy Lee is a funny story about why Billy was acting the way he was and why he went from having gorgeous hair to being bald.
Then we meet My name is Gadget Thompson and I dont go to Astronaut Academy. He was also part of the Megatron team, but he has to stay home. He has built a robot of Hakata Soy to have as a friend. But that robot is stolen by the birdmen whom Metatron defeated earlier.
And next up is My name is Cybert [the stolen robot] and I just arrived at Astronaut academy. Cybert has but one program–to destroy Hakata Soy. But that attitude gets him sent to Guidance Counselor Bee who tries to reprogram him somewhat.
But there are still more characters like My name is Scab Wellington and I go to Astronaut Academy not that it’s any of your business. Scab is a bruiser and a friend of Maribelle and she is wiling to fight anyone, including Miyumi San.
About midway through the book after all the very funny introductions a have been established, we get a real plot and it involves Señor Panda who is actually undercover.
Things get pretty hectic when Scab is taken away. Maribelle turns goth and Miyumi gets a device that stops time. So when there is a serious threat at Astronaut Academy it’s up to everyone (including a few people I didn’t even mention) to help the school.
There so much going on here, I loved the little asides and jokes thrown throughout the panels. I loved the meta dialogue and I really enjoyed Dave Roman’s art. His style is kinda manga but not exactly. There are manga elements but it’s also very American as well. It reminds me of Scott Pilgrim in that way. I’m excited to finally get to read part two.
Roman, by the way, is married to Raina Telgemeier, which means they have one of the most artistic households around.