A horrible hack



Year Released: 2010
Format: Download
Label: Solidarity Recordings
Reviewed by james pacanowski on Mar 8, 2011
Aspiga of Collingswood, NJ are a band that - on paper - really should tickle my fancy. Acoustic-led punk rock songs like This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb combined with the grouchy pop-punk sensibilities of Osker. I mean, if you're like me and you can't put Morton salt on anything without thinking 'When it Pains, it Roars' then you'd probably expect to be just as entertained. But for whatever reason, this album just doesn't do anything for me at all.

It all seems to start promisingly enough, with “I Am” doing it's best Jawbreaker impression. But even by the second track “Goodbye Virginia” it already feels like it's beginning to drag. By the time it gets to “Oh Philadelphia” - as a sidenote, is there any band that uses the format “Oh [city/state name]” in song titles that isn't an alt-country band? - I've just about had enough. And there's still 5 tracks to go.

Most of the blame goes to the vocals. Monotonous and slow, they never seem to match up with what's being played. Occasionally the singer will take on this awful affected twang. You get the sense that there's a catchy song somewhere underneath all the protracted “Whoooooooooa”s – of which there are almost too many to count – but it's like they couldn't think of words with enough syllables to fit properly into each bar and were forced to drag out every intonation liiiiiiiiiiiiiike thiii-eee-iiii-eee-iiiiiiss. By gum, does it get old quickly. It was probably intended to be anthemic but it just sounds tuneless and out of sync with everything else going on.

I'd probably be willing to give Aspiga another go if they promised to cut down on the "Whooooooooa"s and quit attempting to hold each vowel for several seconds. Until that time.....

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