First-rate from the First State
What’s up with Delaware? It doesn’t get the attention other states get. It doesn’t have the honor of being the smallest state, though it’s close. It was the first colony to ratify the Constitution, thereby becoming known as The First State, so it does have that. But what’s up with the music from there? Cab Calloway was a fine guy. George Thorogood was “Bad to the Bone” and demanded attention. Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell of Television give it a healthy dose of “street cred.” But it’s no hotbed of big music that certain other states are, and this leaves a lot of room for some band to come along and further mark good ol’ DE on the map.
The Spinto Band are a likely candidate. They have been releasing music since 1996 of the clever-quirky-independent pop variety, but that’s just a genre description and doesn’t even begin to illustrate their most excellent songs. These songs feel good. They are positive but not “happy,” up-tempo but deliciously so. They are decidedly a rock band, but with enough electronics to change things up and keep it interesting. And Nick Krill’s voice is not to be overlooked: He is decisive and punctuated with his delivery, but can croon with such mellifluous tenderness. You trust him implicitly.
Their 11th album, Cool Cocoon, was just released on their own Spintonic Records label, and it is yet another fantastic signpost on the Spinto highway. The album opens with Krill softly mentioning a “quiet moment on a subway train” that takes you into the proper hook of “Shake It Off.” “Amy and Jen” is a lush psychedelic tremolo dream. Spain has it’s influence on the ever-swaying “What I Love.” “Memo” is straightforward in it’s delivery, reading like a concerned letter to a friend. The pastoral “Look Away” repeats itself, with a summery story by the lake.
“She Don’t Want Me” says not much more than that, with bright use of palmas and Latin rhythms to save us from heartbreak. “Static” is a lovely ocean of synthy doo-wop, supporting another sad tale. “Enemy” starts like the Byrds, with a brassy guitar and analog hiss, popping almost directly into the cheerful refrain, “Enemy, I love you anyway.” “Na Na Na” is a “Strokes do circus music” number, and “Breath Goes In” is a great closer—a fast waltz in the clouds. So Delaware should be proud of these boys. Because when you’re counting your successes, it’s quality that counts—not quantity. And The Spinto Band are first-rate.