"I'm a big fan of synthpop...What transcends this album to greatness is the way many of the tracks burrow into the brain and take up residence. I've played this CD more than 90% of the stuff I heard in 2006...Yes, it's that good! Buy without hesitation."
GRAHAM GETTY / SynthMusicDirect
Astromill is the electro sci-fi creation of singer / keyboard player Sheryl McMillan.Sheryl grew up in the USA and played keyboards in numerous rock and new wave bands in the early 1980's, eventually moving to Nashville and working as assistant engineer in a recording studio and touring the USA before moving to Los Angeles. In LA, the seeds of what would eventually become Astromill were sewn. Since then she has recorded as session keyboardist / programmer and/or singer on numerous demos and record projects as well as spending countless hours performing in live bands from spacey electronic to jazz to heavy metal.
Sheryl appears as Astromill on the Ninthwave compilation 'Electricity 2' alongside artists such as White Town and Heaven 17. She recently co-wrote and sang guest lead vocals on a CD by Synthetik FM and has done remixes for bands like Spray and Moulin Noir. In 2004 she contributed tracks to tribute CDs for The Fixx and Dead Or Alive and in 2003 scored the soundtrack of a documentary film shown on various cable channels in the UK and Europe. Sheryl currently resides in Kent, England where a dimly-lit room is often alive with the blinking lights and buzzing sounds of electronic machines built a long time ago in a land far away.
SYNTH MUSIC DIRECT REVIEW:
"AstroMill featured on the recently reviewed 'World Wide Kind 2' CD and, though I did enjoy the track, it didn't really jump out at me. This CD was totally different however. From first listen I was hooked. If you are into melodic, infectious, synth-pop from the very top drawer then this is for you!
The album opens with 'No Promises' which is based on a lilting electronic beat and quite whimsical lyrics which get (as with many of the vocals on the album) the vocoder-type treatment. As an opener it certainly gets the interest sparked, but it doesn't quite prepare you for the brilliance to come. I can't quite decide between tracks 2 or 3 as my favourites. Either way, they are both sensational, and in isolation would make this a "must buy". 'All the Same' has more completely superb treated vocals, the electronic rhythmics are great, but the hook is the infectious nature of every nook and cranny. It's such a finely crafted slab of synth-pop, I can't get it out of my head! There seems to be only antidote, play the next track! How to describe 'Control-Alt-Delete'? "WOW" seems the only way! A sensational electro-beat gets proceedings underway, then sumptuous synth lines pick out a killer riff. Then the vocals, which are totally magnificent, are added to the mix - heavily treated in so many different ways. So infectious that it should only be handled in sterilised conditions. About the only way to top it is you listen to it with the accompanying video (look on youtube) which paints a cutting-edge CG backdrop to this awesome track. Totally top drawer, if I hear two better back-to-back tracks this year I'll be very surprised.
But we're only at track 4 and next is 'Cold in the Middle' which opens a bit like a Beatles song! More great vocals, pleasing melody, a real grower. There are a couple of purely instrumental pieces on this album, and the next track 'Ice Station Zebra' is one of them. It builds purposely as insistent electro-patterns twist and turn, the percussive beat building in definition. Then it gets stripped down to ambience before being re-constructed. The approach is often "less is more" and the subtlety is impressive Next is the title track which is a real grower. Yes, there are more great vocals, yes there are more superb lilting electronic beats. Throw in a Numan-style synth riff, and this listener is in heaven. Brilliant.
The quality continues with 'Tea In China'. Downbeat, melodic, infectious (yes I know I keep using this word, but it really is!). A short piano riff plays with the different elements; lots of electronic effects keep you guessing. 'Spin Cycle' is the most "electronic" piece on offer, an instrumental which slowly develops on expert sequence lines. The beat is a killer, the quirky electronics very entertaining, but somehow the purely instrumental tracks don't quite match the quality of the vocal ones. 'Changed Man' lacks some of the infection of its siblings but is still a great slab of synth-pop, more "in yer face" vocals and grungy style rhythmics-with-attitude. The album signs off on another high both in terms of quality and fun-factor. It's 'All Been Done Before' it may very well have been, but when it's this good I really don't care! The vocal hook is great, the synth lines rasp and cajole, the rhythm picks you up. Superb.
I'm a big fan of synthpop, especially with vocoder/treated vocals. What transcends this album to greatness is the way many of the tracks burrow into the brain and take up residence. I've played this CD more than 90% of the stuff I heard in 2006. And 2007 is only a month old as I write! Yes, it's that good! Buy without hesitation." (GG)