February 16, 2006

Nice, But Not Nice Enough

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If you have yet to hear of “The Spinto Band,” you will most certainly find yourself in good company. Hailing from our nation’s first state, this sextet has been cruising below all, except for Pitchfork’s, radars for sometime now. Nice and Nicely Done, their latest effort, hit the scene last summer and has yet to clear the mainstream hurdle, and perhaps for good reason. Lyrically, the album certainly stimulates little brain activity beyond the high school level. However, the general inconsistency that plagues the majority of the album leaves the few compelling melodies to fend for themselves.
Upon hearing their oh-so-addictive single “Oh Mandy” on Montreal’s Vu D’ici Podcast, I did feel somewhat compelled to investigate Spinto’s full album. “Oh Mandy” features a captivating blend of guitar, synth, and haunting vocals that consistently serve up a portion of the chills. I would not be surprised if this single makes an appearance on the broader indie spectrum sometime soon. However, we soon come across tracks that are outright generic garbage. The opening of “Brown Boxes” makes me cringe every time I accidentally let it play. Though I commend creativity, someone must warn The Spinto Band about the reckless use of the kazoo (perhaps a Delaware thing?). Luckily, the track’s transition to a Weezer-like, though ultimately mediocre, chorus saves the song from producing absolute misery.
Fortunately, there is the album’s second single, “Crack the Whip;” an upbeat, fun, get-up-and-dance-a-little track that stays just mellow enough for you to sit down and relax. “Crack the Whip” features extremely catchy progressions and killer transitions that keep you on your toes from start to finish, while also allowing the track to retain a large degree of originality. I must get this off my chest: I love this song.
Truthfully, all I think about is how two-faced this album is. (Almost literally, as the band does feature two lead singers) On one hand, there is the mediocre Weezer sound that predominates most tracks. Then, there is “Oh Mandy” and “Crack the Whip,” both of which find themselves making repeat appearances on my favorite iTunes playlist, “Very Chill.” I am confident that, given time, the Spinto Band will realize their true sound and eventually release an album of a more polished, consistent nature. Hopefully, the band has yet to expend all its creative energy on its many self-released LPs.

Archived article by Blake Horn