THE SPITS (Fifth Album) CD/LP

The Spits—the brothers Sean and Erin Wood and a rotating cast of drummers and keyboard players—have been a band for seventeen years now.

Granted, it has only been the last ten years since they’ve steadily released records (the seven years before that spent producing absurd, strange, and hilarious productions for cable access television), but the bottom line is that most bands who make the kind of music The Spits make aren’t known for their longevity. You get old, you slow down, you go through funk phases or jazz phases or Dylan phases or you try to keep up with whatever du jour “the kids” are into these days.

That being said, the idea of a fifth Spits album made me a little wary. If their second album was their Leave Home, would this be their Mondo Bizarro? That “kids album” Haunted Fang Castle they did for that one rather generous automobile manufacturer who flirted with garage rock for a year or so before moving on to heavy metal and reggaeton was a silly and surprising departure from what they usually do (and the story behind how it came to be is even funnier), but would this be the direction? Were they veering away from a formula and sound that works and works well and continues to work well? Not that I’d be against anything, say, psych-tinged, and the planned country album with Sean and King Khan sounds awesome, but will they get too far from the sound that people enjoy the most when they think of and hear The Spits? Remember, very few bands stick around for this long and make exciting music.

Well relax, dude, The Spits are still killing it. They seem to know what works for them, and what they can (and cannot do) with the formula. Because The Spits have been the reigning champeens of this kind of dystopian krazy punk—replete with ticking time bomb high-hat cymbals and alien keyboard deathrays—it’s what “the fans” want and now it seems they’re settling into what I guess you could call their middle period, more great songs to add to the previous great songs, keeping what has worked in the past and finding new noises and variations within the framework. On this one, the songs are actually even faster than previous efforts (check “My Life Sucks”), and the freak-out of ringing phones and guitar solos in “My Mess” (the solos, btw, get better and better without getting better and better, if that makes any sense) is especially, um… tasty. It’s the tried and true of another twelve blistering Spits songs, and if you’re sick of that or only give a shit about bands when they’re brand new, that’s your tough tiddy, nerd.

If the production team of Kennedy-Miller ever reads this, if Mad Max 4: Fury Road ever gets made (and if they want to redeem themselves after the myriad failures of Beyond Thunderdome, get The Spits on board to do the soundtrack. [In The Red]

-Brian Costello

AMAZON

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