Ad Astra Per Aspera Catapult Calypso

You wouldn’t think Lawrence, KS would be a place to get spastic, shout-y rock music, but with the advent of the internet it seems anything can happen. And that means that this debut album throws everything it can into the mix, with the natural effect being that some works and some doesn’t. The sheer enthusiasm and energy apparent can only bring this music so far, as sometimes the edges are just too jagged and too many square pegs are being put in round holes. Things get off to a nice breathless start with "Voodoo Economics” which brings to mind current phenoms like Tokyo Police Club, but sometimes this type of manic, keyboard-laden post-punk goes off the rails, as in "Scatter Baby Spiders!” — the voices grate and the music doesn’t seem full enough to compensate. But, sometimes the crazy abandon works as the gentle, yet pushing, banjo-led "Everybody Lets Me Down” seems just odd and out of place enough to quietly convince that AAPA know what they’re doing. Actually, the song shows that, just like that twitchy kid in first grade, if they just sit quietly in the corner things work themselves out quite well. (Sonic Unyon)