Spiral Beach – [Album]

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Imagine, for a moment, an alternate universe where Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey, Kathy Valentine and Gina Schock had been born in stately Ukraine rather than Los Angeles and, rather than journeying down to the beach and discovering fame and fortune as The Go-Gos, they remained in covered wagons and became well-known as a traveling gypsy party band. Sounds weird doesn't it? Unbelievable even? Maybe, but that's the image that comes to mind as The Only Really Thing spins and presents Spiral Beach – a band that's so pop it hurts, but dances to the beat of a very different drummer.

Utilizing the same kind of vacuum-sealed, pixie stick-saturated hooks and plastic production gimmicks that The Go-Gos did but applying it to music that can't help but sound like it owes a debt to Gogol Bordello too, Spiral Beach spins and dances a dervish to shame on The Only Really Thing and will hold listeners tightly captivated until they beg for more. How's it done? By taking every kitchy genre sound from the last fifty years – including beach blanket bingo surf rock, Eighties pop cliches of every stripe, The Go-Gos' sex appeal and a few more unclassifiable gems – and monster mashing 'em all together, Spiral Beach makes a marvelous, glittering sub-cultural monster that is only as associated with punk as it needs to be, and defiantly pushes every other boundary just because it can; every step of the way through their debut's thirteen songs, the band playfully defaces every sound it touches but still finds a fantastic way of presenting it that will burrow into the pleasure center of every brain with which it comes into contact.

With no waiting, right off the top Spiral Beach presents their plan as readymade from the opening off-kilter romp of “Battery” and they don't ease up until the rattling, sputtering and comic absurdism of “The Chain” closes the album but, in between, songs like “Domino,” “Orange,” “May Go Around (In A Mania)” and “Which + Whats” (to name only a few) chirp, burble and scrape out a genuinely manic  sound that's not easily qualifiable as anything other than Spiral Beach; it is readily recognizable as the same band every time, but it sounds like nothing else in memory. There's no doubt that the band knows it too – how else could they sound like they're having so much fun – as they throw what ever strikes their fancy against the wall to see what sticks before ramming those pieces together and calling it an album. The audience, for their part, is asked to simply strap themselves in an look on in wide-eyed amazement as the band expunges every silly, goofy, funny, macabre and weird idea that interests the band before simply moving on to the next idea and doing the same thing over. Because of that, The Only Really Thing falls together with a resounding (but incredibly melodic) splat that the band infers can be lapped up by those listening, or not – depending on their mood. In that way, The Only Really Thing is a very self-assured debut from an untested band that becomes infectious when one realizes that Spiral Beach isn't offering an apology along with it; in this case, the album's there, it's out, and listeners can take it or leave it but, judging by the amount of fun the band had making the album, they're going to do it again, and again, and again. More than it is for listeners, The Only Really Thing exists for Spiral Beach's amusement first, but there aren't many people who hear it that won't be sharing the band's smile.



Spiral Beach – “Domino” –
The Only Really Thing


The Only Really Thing
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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