Posted by Richard Pilsbury.
Reviewed on 28th January 2006.
Live at Cockpit on Tuesday, 24th January 2006
Having read on the Cockpit website that The Spinto Band were getting some press with features in NME and the Fly, I made sure I got there early on the off-chance that they'd sell out. Fortunately, for me at least, they didn't, but a good sized crowd turned out and nearly filled the Cockpit's smaller room by the time they took the stage. Anyway, enough of the preamble, on to the music:
Fields were quite similar to The Spinto Band in some ways, although a comparison with The Soundtrack of our Lives would be more fitting; their songs typically start out simple with jingly acoustic guitar pop but shortly burst into something just as melodic and playful but altogether heavier and more energetic. It was only a matter of getting past the first (and easily weakest song) before feet started tapping.
If I had to find fault I'd say that the drums were a little too loud obscuring some of the depth of the harmonies and the keyboards were lost on occasion but for the most part, the rurally tinged pop with rock sensibilities came across well. There's a great sense of fun about this band and they clearly enjoy their music, it's always great to see a band really enjoying themselves on stage and these guys (and girl) certainly do never taking it all too seriously and whilst there's nothing revolutionary to be found here, it's hard to find anything serious to fault.
The Spinto Band only came into the global musical consciousness last year with their 8th album Nice and Nicely Done having finally got a recording contract with Bar None Records (home to Architecture in Helsinki) after 7 self-released titles. The album quickly became a favourite of the indie press and appears on many best of 2005 lists. It's easy to see why, anyone with even a passing interest in uplifting melodic pop would be well advised to pick up a copy.
The live performance is just as enjoyable and mood elevating as the album, all six guys happily dance around on stage and songs such as brown boxes - on which the audience is encouraged to play along on their free kazoos - and Crack the Whip couldn't help but bring broad smiles to the faces of the crowd and legs all around were involuntarily thrown into a rhythmic spasm.
The comparisons of other reviewers to Pavement, the Flaming Lips and Yo la Tengo are all astute, although there's a definite original Spinto Band sound also. I'd also add upcoming acclaimed emo(ish)-pop band Nightmare of You to the comparisons list, similar in style and moreover the choice of adolescence as a theme. Again the sense of fun came across strongly which made it all a very enjoyable uplifting performance.
Simply put, a great indie-pop band, with two talented songwriters who have honed their craft over the last 8 years and whilst there's room for improvement, at their best they're fantastic. Definitely worth looking out for, no doubt they'll be back and moving on to greater things.