Astro Children ('Proteus' sleeve, photo by Sam Valentine)

Astro Children (‘Proteus’ sleeve, photo by Sam Valentine)

Day 25 of the song-a-day-May NZ Music Month madness is ‘Jamie Knows’ by Astro Children.

In case you are new around here it has been my custom this year to play Astro Children’s brilliant ‘Proteus’ album loud on Sundays. I’ve also been posting a song from Astro Children every Sunday during May too.

‘Jamie Knows’ is the earliest of the ‘singles’ preceding ‘Proteus’. It is from the gentler side of Astro Children. Astro Children do menacing belligerence (check ‘Shoe’ and ‘Nora Barnacle’) just as well. This song is always a bundle of questions for me (like most Astro Children songs). Who is Jamie? What does he or she know? “Fall, will you help me fall?”… lyrics here don’t really provide any answers or even much by way of clues. Which is perfect. If the questions the song raises were resolved it may diminish its mystery and therefore its hold, its power.

The other aspects of the song are the way the chorus and delay effects, plus a slightly out of tune guitar, give a lush 12 string guitar effect. Doing stuff that is ‘wrong’ but actually ends up right, perfect. And the pounding drumming also reminds this is not what we might otherwise think this song should be – Astro Children do not follow any particular style conventions. The unconventional nature of all of ‘Proteus’ is what keeps it distinct and interesting again and again. Conventions, rules, standards etc. can all stifle creativity. Astro Children show it’s OK to be what/ who you are.

‘Proteus’ is available from Muzai Records here.

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