Ad Astra Per Aspera: Catapult Calypso (Sonic Unyon)

Hailing from Lawrence, Kan., Ad Astra Per Aspera are a difficult breed to pin down. Laying their influences at the feet of the Blood Brothers, Man Man, Nation of Ulysses, and other "avant-dark, well constructed chaotic-punk-rock".

cd_adastraperasperaHailing from Lawrence, Kan., Ad Astra Per Aspera are a difficult breed to pin down. Laying their influences at the feet of the Blood Brothers, Man Man, Nation of Ulysses, and other "avant-dark, well constructed chaotic-punk-rock," AAPA have constructed a record that proves that description fairly accurate-albeit not until near the disc's halfway point.

Catapult Calypso's opening three tracks adhere more to the current wave of poppy, keyboard/organ-driven post-punk outfits. AAPA do not turn on the quirk until the foreign-flavored "Nothing Else Is the Real Thing," and the dusty catchiness of "Unnamed Acoustic Songs." The latter cut, with its rather simplistic and repetitive nature, is the most memorable song you are going to hear on this disc.

After the slow-tempo and somewhat tepid "Glosbos Illuminados," Catapult Calypso picks up speed with the excellent "A Fish Would Much Rather Swim" and the White Stripes-esque "Everybody Lets Me Down." Concluding with the solid "Flannery's Coming Home," Catapult Calypso proves itself to be a good, yet flawed debut LP. While Ad Astra Per Aspera do not reach the screeching levels of the Blood Brothers or the yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rye catchiness of Man Man, they easily do justice to the comparisons, but in their own tempered fashion. B

RIYL: Les Savy Fav, Thunderbirds Are Now!, The Anniversary

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