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Aspera
Birds Fly
Suicide Squeeze


Call it genius or call it nonsense, Aspera (who have now dropped "Ad Astra" from their name) will at the very least get a reaction out of you. Built around layers of synthesizers, reverbed guitar, and mutilated drums, Birds Fly is a difficult thing to describe. The follow-up to the full-length Sugared and Feathered, the band's latest is the next step in an oddball psychedelic journey these guys have been on for quite some time.

The biggest problem here is the time you are given to digest these bizarre constructions. Not one of the seven tracks (one of which is unlisted) lasts for more than three minutes. With this sort of bizarre, wandering music, you expect to travel through peaks and valleys that eventually lead you to something that makes sense of it all, but that fails to be the case here. Every song pulls its head back into its shell just when you expect a huge climax or brilliant revelation. This tends to leave out the essential pieces, and prevents the songs from every really solidifying and making any sense. With this sort of psychedelic space rock, you expect to hear more, and when you don't, it all just feels rushed and unfinished.

From the eerie carnival keyboards of the opening title track, right through to the hidden track that is little more than noise, Aspera keeps you scratching your head. Unlike psychedelic pop acts (Flaming Lips being the easiest comparison) that blend wispier elements with a firm pop grounding, Aspera is so far out there, it remains difficult to decipher what the band is trying to pull off. Actual songwriting does not seem to exist, replaced my hums and drones that begin to pull you out into the atmosphere, just before stopping short and letting you fall back to the ground with a crash.

Eddie Fournier

Track Listing:
1. Birds Fly
2. Heaven's On Your Right Side
3. Mean Dog's Grin
4. The Ground and Sky Look Dry
5. Sometimes I'm Not Around
6. Unlisted Track

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Mike Doughty



Pink Floyd

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