What Happened To You?

Written by: LF on 23/02/2015 15:13:51

Aspiga is a melodic punk rock trio from New Jersey consisting of Kevin Day on guitar and vocals, Ray Solowij on drums, and Alec McVey on bass. "What Happened To You?" is their third release and it sees them speeding things up a bit and adding some more recognizable hooks in their songs even as they retain their angsty sound that is at the same time very laid-back and very intense. It's a difficult album to get into though as the gritty sound is so very similar across the record that it's hard to tell the songs apart after the first few listens. Still, you might be willing to spend some time to let them grow on you as the passion behind it all bursts through infectiously at every turn.

"Medusa's Dance" slowly starts the album with a couple of calm and melancholic lines that are typical for Aspiga: "Dancing slowly / Through the hallway / You've got it right / I wish I knew your secrets to happiness / I'd write 'em down / Memorize the details / Practice them almost every day / Every day". As penetrating as the vocals are in the soundscape, they sound like they're coming from the background all the time while the guitar and bass get to dominate and flesh out the sound in the foreground. Especially the guitar provides some very simple but bold and infectious riffs that play well with the intense vocals that sound like Day's trying to fight his way through a veil that separates him from the world across the album. Some of the better examples of this include the moaning chorus of "Medusa's Dance", the slower and more grinding "At My Peak", and not least the up-tempo and forward-striving combination of "Chino Needs To Feel Big" and "I'm An Animal" around the middle of the record.

Generally the band is good at varying rhythms and riffs in their compositions and many of the other songs could be mentioned for memorable lyrics or hooks but while the lack of changes in the overall sound through the record's forty minutes might not be a problem for everyone, it can certainly wear the listener out. Despite it's easily accessible hooks, this album is thus in fact a demanding listen even as it also works fine as a background listen with its mellow and edgy melodies and danceable tempo.


Download: At My Peak, I'm An Animal, Chino Needs To Feel Big
For The Fans Of: Iron Chic, Jawbreaker, Morning Glory, Astpai, Joyce Manor

Release date 21.10.2014
Paper + Plastick Records

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