• antarctica takes it! Constellations (CD, £4.70)

    label: How Does It Feel to Be Loved

    When Antarctica Takes It! released their debut album, “The Penguin League”, in 2008, reviewers focused on the fact that Dylan McKeever had recorded his album of joyous indie folk directly into the internal mic of a friend’s laptop. The consensus was clear: this was an accomplished, ambitious album, festooned with strings, brass, accordion, piano and glockenspiel, to rank alongside the likes of Beirut and Sufjan Stevens. But even so, critics felt McKeever was capable of much more. “It makes you wonder what he's going to sound like when he gets access to a proper studio,” declared Boomkat. Two years later, a few things have changed for the 25-year-old from Santa Cruz, CA. He now owns a microphone. Thanks to a fundraising drive on Kickstarter, which saw fans donate $2000 towards production costs, he’s no longer a stranger to a proper recording studio. And his focus has shifted slightly. “I wanted the record to be direct and catchy, but also dynamic and engaging because as Jonathan Richman says, ‘If the music’s gonna move me, it’s gotta be action-packed’,” says Dylan. “’Constellations’ is a much more pop-focused sound than ‘The Penguin League’. There are different ideas both lyrically and thematically with longer and more intricate arrangements. There’s more life, more complications, and more heartbreak.” The result is an album that combines romantic, magical indie folk with exuberant pop. “Lions Of Love” and “Voices” are tender, intimate affairs, enriched with golden harmonies and the vulnerability of Dylan’s vocal. “C&F” and “Straight To Your Heart”, meanwhile, sound like they’re squaring up to take San Francisco’s Broadway by storm. With a five piece band around him, Dylan’s also started playing live, stealing the show at the San Francisco Popfest. Tracklisting : (1) Bossa (2) C&F (3) Straight To Your Heart, (4) Try Try Try (5) Constellations, (6) Lions Of Love (7) Stay In Bed (8) Voices (9) Spirit Of Love (10) Thunderstruck (11) Bedrooms

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