Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SPELLS on Snappy Little Numbers Records

In the same tragic way that Mammoth Cave Records folded recently I'm trying to imagine what it would be like if the rest of the labels documenting their own regional scenes also suddenly also disappeared. I don't think I would have come across SPELLS for one thing. Snappy Little Numbers just released this second single from the Denver, CO band and I'm trying not to mention Hot Snakes or The Obits anywhere - fuck.

A-Side's "I don't want a legacy" opens with a rising guitar line hanging out there by itself with the cycles of the open waves of the "At Sea" side. This quickly escalates into a nervous kind of punk thanks to Stevie Shithead's vocals who sounds like Bob on later Husker Du records, it's gravelly and direct over this distortion buildup. The rest of the band is on garage pop duty layering in their two cents behind shithead (that's never going to get old, especially in the liner notes for song credits) repeating '...Don't wanna...'. It's a balance between a tough front vocal, piles of distortion and excavating a real catchy sound. "En Vogue" has the guitars lead things off again and Shithead has a layered vocal sound here in the middle of power chord riffs and explosions of 'oooh!' in the chorus filled with the rumblings of tom bashing. Ramped up these guys are hell bent on getting four tracks of this EP in at 45. This takes a quick veer into later sounding Sugar tracks from Copper Blue for a second and suddenly they've reference the entire Bob Mould arc in just a couple of tracks. A punk caveman sound with those ooo's and ahh's figures perfectly into the stomping primal stuff.
The "Land Locked" B side opens with "Outta Control" it's shakers and running bassline tearing open a punk take on a leather Motorhead sound with lyrics about the road. Heavy distortion chugging away, it's a biker rock sound mellowed out with power punk as if that makes any sense. "I Want Fun" are these guys lightening up? Well you wouldn't know it from shithead's growl but he does seem to be telling an audience to have some god damn fun and stop standing there with your arms crossed. I'm starting to hear a Fucked Up sound here in it's catchiness in spite of itself. The same sort of misdirection here too, I wouldn't expect these guys to be singing about having fun, but then why even play music in the first place?

On purpley-grey vinyl from Snappy Little Numbers.

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