SPIRES, THE: Era Was: CD

I’m having old school reactions to this album. I really enjoy my other Spires records, so I was looking forward to this one. I picked it up on the first week it was out. Now I’m playing it every day. Sometimes, I even put on headphones and just listen to it. It’s rare that I do any of these things. It’s been years since I’ve done all of them. It’s rejuvenating to feel this way about an album again. In case you don’t know, The Spires are a Ventura band. They’ve been around for about fifteen years. Early in their existence, they were a husband and wife team, Jason and Colleen. They made a little splash in the indie rock scene. Colleen stepped back and Brook took over the drums. They’ve since released several albums and cycled through a couple of bassists. This album is just Brook and Jason, and the beauty of it lies in that economy. My first listen, I locked into Brook’s drums. They have that loud/quiet/loud aspect of David Lovering (Pixies), the creativity of George Hurley (Minutemen), and, like Brendan Canty’s drums on later Fugazi albums, they seem to lead more than just drive the songs. They’re not ostentatious or overwhelming. They just get inside your muscles and make you move. From there, Jason takes over the album. He plays a few guitar parts. The jangly, Jazzmaster triads and arpeggios stand in front, but they’re backed up by rhythm patterns reminiscent of D. Boon and J. Mascis. The bass, also played by Jason, slides and grooves subtly in the background. And, I hadn’t thought about this until I listened to Era Was, but when the singer plays all the guitar and bass parts, he makes sure that the music doesn’t fight with the vocals and lyrics. When you combine all these things, you have an album in which something cool and interesting is always happening, yet it all blends together well. And, while I’ve compared The Spires to a lot of the ’90s indie rock that grew out of punk, they’re not locked in the past. For Razorcake readers looking for contemporary references, think of guitars that overlap with the Partial Traces, vocals similar to the Pale Angels, and an overall vibe like the Steve Adamyk Band’s more laid back songs. –Sean Carswell (Fop)