The Spinto Band may have taken a few years off, but the time off appears to have reenergized the quintet, who are definitely providing proof they weren’t simply a flash in the pan. Certainly, they have proven their work ethic, bouncing back with two albums in the past two years.
Having lived in Delaware for seven years, I can attest very little breaks out of the state and captures artistic attention on a trans-Atlantic scale. That’s why it seemed unusual to me the very first time I caught The Spinto Band opening for the Arctic Monkeys in Philadelphia in 2006. How was it that a band still living in Delaware might open for NME’s UK post-punk darlings?
The Spinto Band seemed like another example of an American band poised to be generally loved more by Europeans than Americans. And they probably were for a while. But now their appeal and sonic palette seems broader. To demonstrate this, The Spinto Band put the tunes from their latest album, Cool Cocoon, on display in concert at DC9 Tuesday night, bringing a happy, chirpy bunch of songs to a very appreciative if small audience.
Spinto can sound a little bit folk, a little bit twee or a little bit new wave as they move from song to song. They opened up with some upbeat, breezy songs that evoked Vampire Weekend with their catchy courses and repetitive oooo’s and eeee’s. Before long, they sound a bit more like Paul McCartney’s Wings with tracks like “Look Away” from the new album. They wind up being bubbly and buoyant again with “Na Na Na,” a song that calls for audience participation in the refrain.
The band gets some of its versatility from having three vocalists trade off on lead singer duties, a very unusual arrangement. Band founder and guitarist Nick Krill still perhaps sings on the largest number of songs but he’s happy to share the limelight with his fellow guitarist Joe Hobson and bass player Thomas Hughes. Hobson wants to shake and bounce while Krill is almost stoic in comparison (although certainly also an impassioned singer). Hughes is a bridge between the two.
Depending on how you measure it, Cool Cocoon is either their fourth full-length album or their 11th, given they previously self-released seven albums before signing with Bar/None and diving into UK pop consciousness with the resulting Nice and Nicely Done. Regardless, it definitely is a bit of a change in direction for the band, which made a wise decision to keep tweaking its sound.
Armed with this new material, The Spinto Band is sure to be back, whether opening for acts from across the pond or doing more of their own headline work. They have a big gig coming up as part of the Firefly Festival June 21-23, where they already are gathering attention as the homestate heroes in the lineup of what has become the biggest music festival on the east coast in its second year.
Nicely done, Delaware. Nicely done.