Take everything you like about the Ramones and Devo, fuse them together and you’ve got the Spits. The songs are head down, fist forward, three-chord assaults laced with keyboards (that’s right, keyboards) that saturate the songs with runny-nosed nostalgia. There is nothing bouncy about these keyboards. On the contrary, it’s like air coming out of a hot air balloon mid-transit. The keyboards are there to make the song heavier. In the course of a song you might hear five, six different notes, tops. And we’re talking whole notes, as in the finger comes down on the key and doesn’t come off again for a full measure. Then it fulfills the loop and repeats itself, again and again and again, building momentum and tearing it apart. Like a train wreck. Like a robot’s brainwaves. Like a fucked-up punk rocker who “can’t get high offa alcohol no more.” The keyboards turns songs like “Saturday Nite,” “Remote Kontrol” and “Tired & Lonely” into dirges. The progressions may be predictable but The Spits are a brutal reminder that just because you know the train is coming doesn’t make it hurt any less when it runs over your sorry ass.
–jim (Nickel and Dime)