Sure, there will be more and have been some massive albums from some huge artists in 2020 but, looking at my current tally for favorites of the year, I truly believe that this is the year of the underdog. Like SPICE.
Post-Hardcore that’s rife with melody, SPICE is totally its’ own thing and the nine tracks contained here are easily the best collection of Rawk songs you’ll find in 2020. And they’ve got a violinist.
With Hum surprise dropping a new record the other week it’s kind of serendipitous that this throwback of sorts makes its’ way into our collective consciousness right now. Think the power of Hum, the spaciness of Failure, the sonic prowess of Handsome and the sheer raw power of later Husker Du if you’re looking for an easy comparison.
“First Feeling” captures the magic of the fuzzed out ’90’s perfectly as this modern Alternative Rawk classic in 2020 epitomizes everything that was right with that era while standing firmly in the 21st Century.
I’m just going to put it out there: “All My Best Shit” might be my favorite song this year. It captures a sound that’s just so timeless and you’d be remiss to put a finger on what the key ingredient is here because every part is so vital. It’s Ian Simpson’s wailing guitars, Cody Sullivan’s driving bass lines, Jake Casarotti’s pounding drum beats, Ross Farrar’s melancholy lyrics/vocals on top, and the subtlety with which Victoria Skudlarek’s violin weaves through it all. Need a masterclass in Alt-Rawk 101? Check out “All My Best Shit”.
“Murder” kinda glows despite the heavy tone and will cause involuntary head bobbing to Casarotti’s drums and then “Reward Trip” follows suit as this anthemic rager with Farrar taking on a gruff tone as Simpson’s guitars wrap an intricate web of carefully constructed noise around the song.
“26 Dogs” is another introspective ditty where Skudlarek’s violin really shines, meshing when necessary with the screaming guitar lines from Simpson with Sullivan’s baritone foundation holding it all together. “Vo The Night” is somber and palette cleansing before the thump of “Black Car” makes a case to take that “Best Song Of 2020” crown away from “All My Best Shit” because, frankly, It just owns. Urgent and in-your-face (Or, more appropriately, in-your-ears), “Black Car” charges at a steady pace stomping forward by Sullivan and Casarotti’s rhythm section strength and then expanding to include Simpson’s wall of sound guitar tones and Farrar’s immediate delivery.
Skudlarek’s violins come alive once again within “The Building Was Gone”, a song so good it’ll bring a grown man to shed an uncontrollable tear and then it’s all over with “I Don’t Wanna Die In New York” set as the gorgeous finale careening toward a conclusion that brings the intensity of Husker Du together with the more refined prominence of Sugar.
SPICE lands on July 17th via Dais Records. We highly recommend you take a listen and more importantly, secure your very own copy now by pre-ordering here or here. For more on SPICE, head over to the social media pages by clicking here, here, or here.