After a nearly nine-month break, ASTRO have returned with their third full-length album Drive To The Starry Road. As the name implies, the album is an ethereal journey with dreamy pop and soaring ballads. This album also marks the first time that each of the members have had solo songs on a record.
The album kicks off with the summer-ready lead single “Candy Sugar Pop,” which like its title is a sweet and fun opener. Taking influence from disco and funk, the boys give a sugar rush of sleek and confident delivery while maintaining a bright and cheery vibe. It’s an infectious track that won’t leave listeners’ minds anytime soon. Following this track are a few more group works. “Something Something” sticks with the synths and funky vibes, but switches things up enough to keep it fresh. “More” has ASTRO showing off their suaveness in a heavy beat-driven declaration of love.
“Light The Sky” is a departure from the synth-pop of the previous tracks and is a beautiful group ballad. Following the “star” theme of the album, the song is a heartfelt love song as the boys sing to their “starlight.” It’s a great showcase of each member’s vocals as they soar over the sweeping track. The next track “Story” is the start of the members’ solo songs. The track, which is MJ’s offering, is a great reminder of why he is the group’s main vocalist. While gentle, MJ’s voice carries conviction and raw emotion. It’s a well-produced ballad, not overwhelming. The instrumentals, while wonderful, focus the spotlight on MJ. “All Day” by JinJin is a tropical and bright effort. The song is an upbeat anthem, celebrating those who work hard to create the future and life they want. It’s a highly relatable track that is sure to connect with listeners looking for motivation.
Members Eun-woo and Sanha both took inspiration from the best of early 2000s jazzy singer-songwriter works with “First Love” and “24 Hours” respectively. They’re both simple and sweet love songs that feel perfect for a romance movie soundtrack. “Let’s Go Ride” by Moonbin takes things back to the more dream-pop vibes mixed with hip-hop beats. Each of the members’ solo songs feels like a soundtrack for different moments in a relationship, and “Let’s Go Ride” definitely feels like a summer evening drive along the coast.
“S#1” by Rocky is another affectionate love song, backed by a driving track, reflecting the lyrics talking about falling fast for someone. Rocky’s vocals are of particular note on this track, as he delivers his lines with raw passion, not afraid for small cracks in his vocals to show, adding some nice variety to the track. Even though these few previous songs were solo songs, they all sound cohesive and sound like they belong on the album together, while still giving hints into what each of the members prefer in their music.
Closing out the album is the group song “Like Stars,” which is a nice tie-in to the album theme and “Light The Sky” earlier in the album. It’s another euphonic offering, tying together the concepts of love and the everlasting expanse of the night sky. Drive To The Starry Road is a satisfactory showcase of ASTRO’s skills as vocalists and their seemingly effortless ability to brighten their fans’ day. They’re a dependable group, determined to bring comfort like stars in the night sky.