Oh Fantastica (Jagjaguwar)
By: Cam Lindsay
A strong fixture in the wave of psychedelic bands broadening horizons in the US (along with The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and Canyon), Aspera have never been in the forefront, but their third album should change things. Oh Fantastica is as beautiful as Deserter's Songs and as mind blowing as The Soft Bulletin. The musical boundaries Aspera use are completely non-existent, as they fit in a whole mish mash of influences. Creating a record that is just so far out there, it abandons any sense of direction other than to confuse and create wonder. They use indulgent production methods to create a sterile and majestic 80s sound, while also experimenting with hip-hop beats in the safest manner and classic electronic ambience a la Eno. Though it borrows from the past, there is an undeniable futuristic feel to Oh Fantastica. If you can get your head around Drew Mills' unembarrassed vocal range and the godlike synths and guitars, you will find a record that is just about the strangest form of enjoyment money can buy. A
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