Premiere: Astrid, ‘Poison Reaction’


There’s something about the way the Scottish do indie-pop. And while the music of Astrid never reached U.S. audiences except by word-of-mouth (and one year of SXSW buzz), their run in the late 1990s and early 2000s had tastemakers name-checking them in conversations with Teenage Fanclub, the La’s and the Pastels.

It’s the biggest early surprise of 2019 that Astrid — built around the songwriting team of boyhood friends Willie Campbell and Charlie Clark — will return in April with a new album, “Fall, Stand, Dance.” It’s their first release in almost 15 years and the result of a transatlantic collaboration between between Campbell, who lives on the Isle of Lewis, and Clark, who settled in Los Angeles years ago. Besides becoming a fixture on the L.A. scene as talent buyer at Harvard & Stone, Clark released a smattering of music, both solo and in collaborations.

On the lilting “Poison Reaction,” the lead track on the new album, Astrid pick up where they left off — tripping through life’s twists and turns and regrets with soaring melodies and heavenly harmonies. “Always going to change / but stayin’ the same,” as it happens.

Astrid released nine singles, three albums and three EPs before disbanding in 2004. They got their first break when Stevie Jackson from Belle & Sebastian spotted them playing in a bar and invited them on tour. Eventually, they would tour with the Go-Betweens, Ben Lee, Sean Lennon, Lou Barlow, the Pernice Brothers and Snow Patrol, and Scottish legend Edwyn Collins (Orange Juice) produced their early music. At the invitation of Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, Campbell and Clark also joined Scottish supergroup The Reindeer Section with members of Snow Patrol, the Vaselines, Teenage Fanclub, Arab Strap and Mogwai.

The idea of resuscitating Astrid came when Clark visited his homeland in 2016 and the pair tossed around the idea of writing new songs. Four months later, they were recording in a studio in Laurel Canyon. “Fall, Stand, Dance” was produced by L.A.-based Eric McCann and will be out April 12 via Collins’ AED Records.

The single is officially out Feb. 22.

||| Stream: “Poison Reaction”