Pete Astor has been around the block a long time, being part of The Weather Prophets on Creation Records as well as in ’80s band The Loft. Not one to dwell on past achievements Astor has been consistently creating albums over the past two decades. ‘Spilt Milk’ is the latest album since 2011’s ‘Songbox’ and sees Astor team up with producer James Hoare of Veronica Falls.
‘Spilt Milk’ an understated collection of mellow tunes. Not quite stripped back singer-songwriter fare but at the same time it’s never going to be called overproduced either. It’s the latter that matters in the context of the music, which Astor creates on ‘Spilt Milk’. Smothering the songs in hazy, languid warmth lends ‘Spilt Milk’ likeability. It’s not without subtle shifts in tone and texture, something that Astor experimented with at great length on his previous albums.
Really Something’s guitar pop jangles briskly. The Getting There shuffles along at a relaxed gait that The Go-Between’s would have been proud of. The lyrically rich Mr Music sees Astor namecheck Tony Hancock, Marvin Gaye and Philip Larkin. This clever wordplay is befitting of a man who doubles as a university lecturer.
The main quibble with ‘Spilt Milk’ is that the lack of changes of pace fail to prevent the album from getting too samey. Good Enough isn’t quite good enough or at least not of the same standard as previous tunes. However, There It Goes does a better job of providing emotional depth with the steel guitar adding the necessary sorrow.
Astor’s compositions give of the feeling of a man who is not affected by the pressure of having to produce an album expected to straddle the top of the charts. ‘Spilt Milk’ is the sound of a man clearly happy in his own skin and for the most part all the better for it.