Like Gabriel's Genesis, Syd's Pink Floyd, and the classic recordings of Gentle Giant and Yes, Aspera creates a big dreamy atmosphere and lives comfortably within its parameters, creating a unique language and musical dialogue. Sugar & Feathered is thick with imagery and orchestral arrangements that are rooted in psychedelia and Phil Spector's wall of sound. Drew Mill's thin reedy voice warbles through surrealistic tales of love and despair with a mixture of Flaming Lip Wayne Coyne's panache and Brian Wilson's heartbreak. However the band does possess the ability to push the pedal to the metal as is evidenced in the trippy garage rock of "Pearl & Brine." Mill gives "Another Blue Frisbee" a Lennon-esque reading with echo vocals and surrealistic word play as A.J. Edminston pumps out a fat soulful backbeat. "Goodnight" is a spooky paean to the dark side of romance that would sit well in a Stephen King soundtrack. As far as experimental pop goes, Sugar & Feathered carries on rock's tradition of preserving a band's esoteric musings without worrying about the exact point where one genre begins and another one ends. Allegations of progressive rock's death by the year 2001 have been greatly exaggerated thanks to Aspera.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Semioli