Before Belle & Sebastian became the poster children for all things twee, there was Aberdeen. Fronted by high school sweethearts John Girgus (guitar) and Beth Arzy (vocals/bass), and a rotating cast of musicians (and a drum machine), Aberdeen issued a handful of singles and EPs for seminal U.K. imprint Sarah Records. But with the demise of Sarah in 1995, Aberdeen broke up, and they would do it one more time before ultimately calling it quits in late 2005. Creative and personal strains within the band during those early days didn't help matters either, but what's left is the blissful pop of songs like "I Think I'm Falling," "Super Sunny Summer," and "Miss You Now You're Gone." What Aberdeen did was much more than twee. What Do I Wish for Now?: Singles & Extras 1994-2004 is a representative look at how the California band succeeded in making appealing and stylish pop music for the original indie generation, and became one of the flagship acts of its genre. The newly remastered Byron EP opens up the collection in true Aberdeen fashion, lush harmonies and all, while the glorious 1995 EP, Fireworks, and accompanying "Snapdragon" single sound as fresh as ever. Their later material for Tremelo Arm Users Club and Better Looking cannot go unnoticed, either. Their only full-length player, 2001's Homesick and Happy to be Here, was some of the most endearing and emotional material from Aberdeen, and by this point, Arzy and Girgus had broken up, but their professional relationship seemed promising. Having "Sink or Float" featured in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the merry pop makings of "The Boy Has Gone Away" further cemented Aberdeen's indie pop place in history. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and their final single, the misty moods of "Florida" said it all: "This time I've lost/I'm leaving today/I've fought enough/It's better this way." What Do I Wish for Now?: Singles & Extras 1994-2004 is surely a collection perfected for fans old and new, and a touching reflection of the small but impacting legacy Aberdeen left behind.
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AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson