Aspiga – What Happened To You?

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews


What Happened To You? - Paper + Plastick Records

I didn’t get all the hoopla about Aspiga the first time around.  Simply put, they were a tad too familiar and somewhat whiny for my tastes.  I dismissed them as yet another late 90’s and early 00’s homage piece arriving over a decade late for a party.  Every Last Piece may have received reasonable reviews, but I just didn’t think it was very good.  However, with the release of Aspiga’s sophomore full length, What Happened To You?, I may need to revise my earlier sentiment and adjust for the band’s apparent awakening.

This time around the Collingswood, New Jersey three-piece offers up a truly well rounded and balanced performance.  Sure, Kevin Day remains on the high side of nasally, but this time he just feels like a better fit for the emo/punk backdrop surrounding him.  Skipping right to the good stuff, “Wide Eyes” gets gritty with a surprisingly catchy ‘dirty indie’ vibe born of a chorus somewhere between a 90’s alt/rock vibe and homage to catchy pop-punk.  This really comes out of nowhere and strikes soundly into memory.  Aspiga has never written a song quite like it – the way the guitars flow into and play off of one another is worthy of a double take.  The same goes for those like “Beneath Atlas,” where the band’s collective voice harmonizes in lyric and instrument.

Other points of interest include a handful of interesting anecdotes and an overarching playful attitude.  For instance, “I’m An Animal” features a conversationally delivered outro that illuminates the concept of rehabilitation and skeptical gaze of society’s gatekeepers in accepting and forgiving one’s transgressions.  Other commendable moments include the imagery of curiously descriptive passages as per “You’re OK,” with the insight “I thought one word was good enough but everyone just gazed at me, so I stripped off my clothes, rolled up and down my canvas, the marker bled all over me, it coloured me, sophisticated.”  The band certainly goes the extra mile to make these songs feel original and peak listeners’ curiosity.  

What Happened To You? addresses the my chief complaint with Aspiga: that the band just didn’t have a strong and recognizable voice.  With What Happened To You? the band has settled on an unmistakable sound that warrants its own place and existence.  As harsh as that might sound, it reinforces that the group’s blood, sweat and tears over the past few years have not been for naught.  If their sophomore full length remains any indication of the road ahead, fans can enthusiastically anticipate and endorse the road ahead.