“Their latest single “Paradise” is a deft blend of melodic pop fused with smooth, ultra confident rap textures that eschew the theatrics so common to both genres in favor of a broad based approach sure to entrance audiences across the globe. This observation drives home a larger point – the collective’s concerns are not confined to a narrow range of personal and empty cultural references but, instead, focusing on the macro and not the micro while still vividly depicting how the macro affects individual lives.
The track opens with its chorus, a relatively unusual move immediately involving listeners. India has a strong singing voice that doesn’t need to be technically perfect to convey its intent. The lyrics are quite important and what’s even more important is how the post-production work that gives them an increasingly shriller, hysterical edge as the chorus reaches its conclusion. Rapper Deploi takes over for the verses and the minimalist bass and percussion dominated swing ideally matches his tenor. It’s a surprisingly musical performance from the vocalist and it’s easy to tell how much attention he pays to bringing his voice into alignment with each successive beat.
The lyrical content is complicated and adult without ever becoming inaccessible to listeners. Deploi deftly navigates his way through a variety of short and multi-syllabic wordplay without ever stumbling once and the text conveys a sweeping indictment of modern culture akin, but much more specific, to Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding). Once its begun in earnest, the song alternates between the additional refrains featuring vocalist India and they are placed neatly within the compositional framework for maximum dramatic impact. The production emphasizes the bass, but it isn’t so overdone that it dominates the track. Instead, it provides a hard-hitting counterpoint to Deploi’s intensely rhythmic performance.
Improbably named or not, Astronauts of Antiquity is a truly unique act in modern music. This is a sonic mission statement, like every earlier release from the collective, that cuts across relatively useless labels like “mainstream” and “indie” to provide a fully immersive musical experience. This is entertaining and thought provoking. “Paradise” might bite deep into the listener’s ear with its catalog of modern horrors, but it never fails to maintain a compelling tempo and hits audiences in an intensely physical, percussive way. B. Rhyan, India, Ivica, and special guest Deploi have combined their talents to produce one of the year’s best singles.”