EP Review: Graduation Speech - Maintenance Required
Finding time to focus on playing in only one band usually proves to be difficult enough for most, so to juggle two projects is no easy task. That balancing act is exactly what Kevin Day of the indie punk band Aspiga has been doing between that project, and his solo effort under the guise of Graduation Speech – the latter project, which has recently released a brand-new, 5-song EP titled Maintenance Required. The EP opens with “Your Heart, My Lungs,” and leans on a slick, simple guitar riff to demand your attention as it pulls you into a song that makes you instantly question which genre it falls into – a good problem to have. But this song also cleverly introduces you to an entirely new sound from Graduation Speech. Unlike previous releases from this side project, which were acoustic, there’s now a full backing band on this collection of 5-songs to give them an extra kick – somewhat mirroring what Dashboard Confessional did between their albums The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most and A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar. Lead single “Ourselves” follows, and it continues delivering that same momentum. However, as you roll into “Small Apartments,” you experience an experimental outburst that acts as the perfect middle to this EP, tying together the opening two up-tempo numbers, with the softer style of “Shedding Myself” and “Love & Patience.” Kevin Day has perfectly crafted the full band instrumentation throughout each song, so as that it never gets in the way of the singer/songwriter vibe that he’s created and allows for his heartfelt lyrics to be the star of the show. For the most part, Maintenance Required stays in its lane while still being different enough from the previous efforts to showcases Day’s phenomenal growth as an artist, vocalist, and songwriter.