It’s almost inaccurate to call New Jersey’s indie/pop punk band Aspiga a three piece. Traditionally, a three-piece punk band can bring to mind thin, simple arrangements with nothing to really drive the genre forward. Despite their numbers, Aspiga brings forth an entirely different interpretation of a three piece punk band with much success on their new full length What Happened to You?
In our interview with Kevin Day, he clued us into some of the steps the band took to avoid some of the pitfalls of a three piece punk band. Day mentioned that he and their bass player took care to meld their tones to sound the fullest and most complimentary. Truly, the fuzzy distorted bass and Day’s slightly-cleaner-than-usual guitar sound great together. The band also wrote the songs on the album collaboratively; the consideration Aspiga puts towards cohesion is impressive.
What Happened to You? is the end result of that care and craft the band took in songwriting. Starting the melancholic theme that permeates the entire album, Day delivers a gut punch: “I wish knew your secrets to happiness/I’d write ’em down/memorize the details/practice them almost everyday.” Later, on “Fortunes,” Aspiga channels Tom May of the Menzingers, singing “Dear Mom do you believe in me/I need to know that I’m worth it/tell Dad not to worry/go to bed, let’s talk in the morning.”
Perhaps one of the only commonalities between Aspiga and many pop punk trios is Day’s nasally vocal delivery and the brevity of their songs. Make no mistake, Aspiga’s modus operandi is to give its listeners catchy vocal lines in the least amount of time. A late cut on the album, “On Deaf Ears,” drives that point home with an eminently singable repeating stanza “If I cut the cord/shut you off/will you look at me/cuz I’m spilling my guts/on this steel frame/and it doesn’t mean a thing.”
While the album technically ends on a secret track, the listed final track, “Errand Boy,” delivers a strong finale. Day lets his voice crack during the final seconds of the song, singing and repeating “I’m broke and need a break.” The simplicity and finality in that single line puts all of the depression and doubt of the album’s lyrical content into perspective. Aspiga channeled their frustration into a cohesive, cathartic punk album that outclasses most of what’s out there.
Paper + Plastick released Aspiga’s second full length on Oct. 21. The band has announced some winter shows in support of the album, check out those dates HERE.