Nice And Nicely Done





There's something about breezy, slack-jawed pop that quiets the summer heat, or at least makes it tolerable. The lackadaisical melodies still the sweat somehow, and leave you gently tapping your foot rather than wiping your brow. Somewhere between slanted and enchanted, The Spinto Band is keeping this summer cool with their debut album, Nice and Nicely Done. Six young dudes from Delaware have concocted a refreshing blend of '80s synth and '90s melodic alt-rock resulting in an infectious rendering of power-pop. The Spinto Band creates singular pop gems that shimmer with admiration for their musical past (their sound mirroring anyone from alternative music icons Pavement to contemporaries The Stills), and reflect their own unique plans for the future. Nice and Nicely Done comes across as a genuine pop masterwork that was created without effort or pretense. It's as carefree as a summer breeze. And that's the way I like it. The opening track, "Did I Tell You", delivers what Hot Hot Heat promised on Elevator. With a wraithlike intro melding Disintegration-era Cure into a warbling harpsichord, the song then smoothly segues into quirky punk/pop territory replete with bratty vocals and shimmying chorus. "Oh Mandy" is all glorious falsetto and mope rock urgency. In other words, it was often on repeat while I should have been giving more than a cursory listen to other tracks. Although it delves into familiar territory, there is a particular sweetness to it that isn't feigned. It hasn't been over rehearsed for the sake of appearing entirely original and that is exactly why it stands out. There is a bevy of new rock acts that rehash retro cool as if they invented it. The Spinto Band possesses a greater intelligence. They know they didn't invent it, but that doesn't mean they can't re-invent it. "Crack The Whip"'s rhythm is canonical dance rock. In a backdrop of melancholic, stuttering guitars, the lead vocalist drowns his voice in cheap beer, crying out muffled laments that aren't quite slurring but aren't quite clear either. It's the best Julian Casablancas imitation to date. Yes, that's a compliment. The boys succeed in mimicking the monoliths in modern rock, but they also do great justice to straightforward pop hooks. "Brown Boxes" contains a catchy marching band beat, sounding like a small but funky parade complete with organ, and is that a kazoo? "Trust vs. Mistrust" makes great use of the "Awhooos" in its slacker-rock chorus. Malkmus and company might have made this song if they weren't so trapped in their own semantic strategies. The blithe and yet dexterous way this band performs speaks highly for their modest age (all band members being around twenty something). It's refreshing when a new band isn't performing beyond their years. Instead, the boys do what suit them - enjoyable, lighthearted pop rock treats. With an impressive cross-section of rock styles tightly under their control, it oddly seems as if The Spinto Band created this album with only smiles, charm, and whimsy. Nice and Nicely Done, indeed.

The Spinto Band
Bar/None

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Nice And Nicely Done