by Charles Hoyt (@charlie_ben_h)
Two Inch Astronaut keep getting better, release after release. Can You Please Not Help, their newest release on Exploding in Sound Records, contains some of my favorite songs from the Silver Spring, Maryland based post-punk band, Sam Rosenberg on guitar and vocals, Matt Gatwood on drums and vocals, and Andy Chervenak on bass and vocals.
Two Inch Astronaut is a band that I saw and loved all throughout high school. They frequently opened for Pile, Ovlov, and Lvl Up as I saw them throughout my early show-going days. I did not often listen to their recorded albums until more recently, but when I had been seeing them live, I instantly fell in love with their songs, “Cigarettes, Boys, and Movies” and “Dead White Boy” off their album Foulbrood. Those songs were often on mixtapes that I made for friends and family. With their new album, Can You Please Not Help, I was instantly excited, engaged, and loving the record.
Opening up with a short, lo-fi piano track, it makes a quick surprisingly loud turn when the title track, “Can You Please Not Help” begins. Many tracks on Two Inch’s new album can fall between heavy and poppy. “Play to No One,” the third track is the poppiest song on the record, which also happens to be one of my favorites. This song includes falsetto vocals and a rhythm that can make anyone want to dance a little. “Colesville” is quite possibly my favorite track off the entire record. This song reminds me of a Pile song with the rising intensity of the guitar riff crescendos, snare and cymbal heavy drum parts, vocal melodies, and intonation of Rosenberg’s vocals. The intro to “Snitch Jacket” is another of my favorite moments on the record because of the guitar part coming from alternating sides of earphones on each beat. The guitar solo on this song is mathy with an excellent drum part from Matt Gatwood. Overall, each of my favorite tracks off this record have well crafted lyrics, excellent rhythms, and great guitar playing by Sam Rosenberg.
The closing track on the latest Two Inch Astronaut record is not very similar to the rest of the album. “I’ll Leave You Alone” offers a cool-down from the high intensity of the very punky entirety Can You Please Not Help. Featuring quiet vocals, cello, keys, and acoustic guitar, it is a welcomed time to reflect on the rest of the album, as well as show off the musical expertise of Rosenberg, Gatwood, and Chervenak. A beautiful closing track such as this one always makes me want to go back and listen to the album again. Two Inch Astronaut have once again crafted an album that I will be listening to for years to come.