The Spyrals – The Spyrals

written by: April 20, 2012
Release Date: Jan. 1, 2012


The genre column on iTunes claims that The Spyrals are a “shoegaze” band, and who are we to judge? They certainly mix their vocals in the distinctive shoegaze style (i.e., reverb-glazed vocals that sound as though they are coming from the apartment next door). Compared to most shoegaze acts, however, The Spyrals have more energy than most groups who would rather stare at their shoes. Case in point: The Spyrals are an “under the radar” act making very “on the radar” type music.

Opening track “Lonely Eyes” cuts a fantastic middle ground between the roughness of garage and the smoothness of psychedelia, all with a powerful, pulsating energy underlying it. It’s nice to see a band that can get your toes tapping right out of the gate. The guitar licks are great and straight out of the classic rock catalog, evoking the bluesy immediacy of the Rolling Stones on “Disguise” and the sultry cool of the Velvet Underground on jangling, baroque “Radiation.”

There’s also the dusty guitar twangs of early surf rock and the draw of mythic desert roadtrips on subtle and well-paced “Long Road Out.” Like The Morning Benders before them, “Road” is more than a little vocally focused for a band that aren’t strong lyricists, and seems to have a moral objection to allowing anybody to understand what the singer is saying. But that’s an insignificant nitpick for such a nice oasis of infectious guitar work.

“The Rain” is probably the strongest track present; there are few too openings in music where the songs begins with someone playing harmonica as though the world is ending. Backed with a great baseline and solid percussion, The Spyrals have a good thing going with this track–and judging by how long they jam with it, they know it.

The downside to all this is that the Spyrals have yet to set themselves apart with this particular release. They’ve got a great sound, and certainly know their way around retro soundscapes, but fail to use this knowledge to their advantage. The lyrics, though pleasant, never stick. And when they have the chance to hook listeners with memorable one-liners or mesmerizing storytelling, they’d rather fine-tune catchy hooks. Fine–they jam really, really well–but the music could use some seasoning. Here’s to hoping that this release foreshadows better things to come.

The Spyrals – The Spyrals tracklist:

  1. “Lonely Eyes”
  2. “Disguise”
  3. “Trying to Please”
  4. “Calling Out Your Name”
  5. “Long Road Out”
  6. “Radiation”
  7. “Save Yourself”
  8. “The Rain”
  9. “Evil Kind”