February 13, 2013

Test Spins: The Spinto Band, Cool Cocoon

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“Shake It Off,” the first song on The Spinto Band’s latest record, is charming, playful and sounds like it should have been on the My So-Called Life Soundtrack. Basically: It’s everything we’ve come to expect — and perhaps take for granted — from the nostalgic Delawareans. In the 18 years since their formation, The Spinto Band has gone from a high school garage band known as Free Beer to reasonably successful indie rockers to the kind of group whose members have to pick up part-time jobs. Through it all, The Spinto Band has remained remarkably upbeat and Cool Cocoon, their eleventh LP (that counts their self-released albums in the late 90s), is a solid, if not terribly innovative release.

The Spinto Band has never paid much attention to current music trends, opting instead for classic pop compositions — which are currently on the wrong side of your high school newspaper’s “hot or not” chart. Cool Cocoon is no exception. These ten bubbly pop songs are all meticulously crafted, blissfully upbeat and named things like “Na Na Na” and “She Don’t Want Me.” They’re also catchy as hell. “What I Love” features beachy ooh-ing and cutesy lines like “hold me tight and sing/til we don’t care about anything,” while “Amy + Jen” is the catchy, ballooning story of a new crush. It’s constantly surprising that The Spinto Band members are so far from their teenage years — they don’t seem to have lost any of their youthful naivete. The problem, however, is that they have so perfectly mastered their sound that, at this point, there is little room left for creativity. Sure, The Spinto Band knows precisely how to record a nostalgic pop record. But its spent nearly two decades doing the same thing, and at times this effort sounds a little stale.

Original Author: Gina Cargas