Look Mexico - Gasp Asp [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Look Mexico

Gasp Asp [7 inch] (2008)

Tiny Engines / Lujo

With its sometimes brilliantly intricate instrumentation, quality songwriting and overall sunny approach, 2007's This Is Animal Music was a breath of fresh air in the indie world -- Look Mexico had created a unique record with a ton of standout moments that also honorably paid homage to bands like American Football and Minus the Bear, among others that came before them, and the recognition the band received for their efforts was well-deserved. The band makes their return with Gasp Asp, a four-song EP that sees Look Mexico beginning to hit their stride as a band. Despite its all-too-short running time and the lofty expectations based on the quality of This Is Animal Music, the songs found here are the band's most accomplished in every aspect imaginable.

A string section opens up "You're Not Afraid of the Dark, Are You" and Gasp Asp before the full band kicks in, and it's immediately apparent that these guys are taking yet another step forward with this release. The production here is noticably more lush than that of This Is Animal Music, giving the music a 'heavier,' more atmospheric feel. Matt Agrella's voice has also strengthened by leaps and bounds -- and he was no slouch in that department to begin with, which makes his improvement that much more impressive. The melodic nature of the verses -- helped along by Joshua Mikel's excellent drumming -- meshes well with the organized chaos that rules the chorus.

"Don't You Dare" begins as a foot-stomping tune before descending into an intricate collection of twinkling guitars, well-placed cymbal fills and Agrella's continuously strong vocals. Mikel's drumming again steals the show on "I'm Not Guilty, But I'm Used to It," pounding away vigorously but never sounding busy or outside of the overall scope of the song. And Agrella shines on the EP's closer, "A Survivor's Code, My Code," showcasing his impressive vocal range, while low and high dueling guitar songs dominate the song's second half.

Gasp Asp does what many good EPs do; it leaves just as quickly as it arrives, and leaves a bittersweet taste in one's mouth, with the listener hankering for more. Hopefully a new full-length is in the cards soon for Look Mexico.