ALEX THE ASTRONAUT
To Whom It May Concern (Minkowski Records)
Alex Lynn grew up loving both Cat Stevens and Paul Kelly. She has been studying near New York and goes into the city occasionally to play gigs, no matter the weather – it’s ok if it’s raining her socks will dry out.
Not a big fan of parking fines at hospital carparks or the cold, she sees a guitar (her first arriving as a Christmas gift after she learned to play Space Oddity) as slightly more useful than angels.
This is no attempt at showing off my research; I didn’t need to open a single browser for any of it. Instead I gleaned all this, and more, from the five songs of this EP, sung-spoken in a nonchalant, none-more-Australian voice.
It’s fair to say that Lynn, the eponymous Astronaut (who could well be one if she wanted given she’s no slouch at the maths and physics she transferred from Sydney to Long Island to study) is a singer//songwriter comfortable with the quotidian.
As such she has already drawn comparisons with the Queen of the quotidian, Courtney Barnett, which can’t hurt I guess, even if it’s not really an apt comparison.
Musically and sonically Lynn is more Sally Seltmann or Julianna Hatfield than Barnett. More lo-fi pop, keyboards and shyness-for-diffidence than garage rock, guitars and nonchalance.
She can swing pop easily in Already Home and tip in some ‘70s cool guitar noodling in Half Of 21st Street’s I-know-Evan-Dando buoyancy, while comfortable pulling it all back to Sunday morning recovery acoustic storytelling in I Believe In Music.
Likewise, she’s happy to throw in some ultra-retro handclap-like electro drums on the already pretty ‘80s Rockstar City and grandly, if cheaply, swell a synth over a rudimentary rhythm box in Holes In The Story (which opens with a faint but hard to shake nod to Kelly’s To Her Door).
There are few pretensions here and no attempt to grandstand her way in: Lynn, The Astronaut, is aiming for a gentle entry into this atmosphere.
The prevailing mode is a kind of naïveté, the songwriting obscured you could say, by the suggestion in the voice and sound that she’s young, learning and not yet ready for attention.
But that would be a misreading: she can write and she has an eye for small matters as much as little details. There will be more.
Having already being picked up on their radar, this EP should find Lynn comfortably ensconced on the triple J playlist and voters’ minds by the next hottest 100.