Macrocosmica - Ad Astra
13 December 1997

Brendan O'Hare is the music world's Littlest Hobo. Wandering, day by day, from one askew pop ensemble to another, creating a little piece of heaven before moving on to pastures untilled. That is, unless you reside in the USA, where Brendan's chosen furrow has this time been ploughed quite well by many angular Stateside bands: Fugazi and Dinosaur Jr to name but two.
Never mind, though, O'Hare has travelled through Teenage Fanclub, Telstar Ponies, and Mogwai to be here. Not an inconsiderable portfolio by any left-fielder's standards, and this haphazard career path seems to have finally found some strand of logic: Macrocosmica appears to have been devised solely to get back to basics. Namely, to rock like a whorehouse in a hurricane.
This takes the form of shotgun rhythms and multi-layered guitar scree with semi-spoken menaces that give rise to seismic Rollins-esque yelps. In a nutshell, it is '90s punk rock. An exception to the rule comes with the gently brooding 'I Am The Spaceship Digitalis', but with their angst wrapped in opaque metaphysical imagery (reminiscent of O'Hare and fellow Macrocosmican Gavin Laird's previous incarnation as Telstar Ponies) and, bingo, you're reaady to slip into the Zeitgeist very comfortably indeed, thank you.
Despite the cod-2001: A Space Odyssey concept, 'Ad Astra' is more often than not rooted in the terrestrial beauty of drums, guitars, and catharsis. But now that's been successfully accomplished, one gets the feeling that O'Hare will not be around here for long. Maybe tomorrow he'll learn to settle down. But until tomorrow, he'll keep movin' along. (8)
Darren Johns