Articles tagged with Spiral Beach

Spiral Beach dials up the weird

Spiral Beach - The Only Really Thing
At first glance, Toronto’s Spiral Beach appears to be much like any other keyboard-heavy post-punk band, mixing choppy guitars with soaring vocals and the occasional dance beat. Compared to its ’80s-indebted peers, however, the outfit is much harder to categorize. The group’s new album, The Only Really Thing, draws on bizarre carnival music, bombastic cabaret and Bollywood film scores to create a mish-mash sound that’s unlike anything else in recent memory. “After Midnite” begins as a slinky drum-and-bass groove, swelling to a Moulin Rouge-style crescendo of whirling organs and blaring horns. The haunting “Raising the Snake” sounds like something you might encounter on the streets of Cairo—or, at least, the version of Cairo that’s portrayed in movies, full of snake charmers and men wielding scimitars. “Battery” is similarly Eastern-inflected, although it races past at a punkish pace, full of shouted vocals and blasts of trebly guitar.

As well as these unexpected stylistic forays, the album also delivers the occasional moment of pop rock perfection. The corkscrew guitar riffs of lead single “Domino” give way to a pummeling chorus hook that recalls Arctic Monkeys at their most energized; the refrain “Jumping around on six left toes / We’re gonna fall like dominoes” is pure Alex Turner. “Cemetery” is a slick dance groove with ghoulish lyrics, retro keyboard flourishes and a melody that borrows from Blondie‘s “Call Me.”

mp3: “Domino”

Lead singers Airick Woodhead and Maddy Wilde trade off on lead vocals throughout the album, often singing in tight harmony. Despite the gender difference, their high, occasionally bratty voices are so similar that it’s often difficult to tell who’s singing what. Similarly, it can be hard to distinguish the instruments, with keyboard melodies and guitar leads so soaked in reverb that the source of the noise is indistinguishable.

Closing track “Shake the Chain” is a sparse, spiky blues ballad, the majority of its percussion handled by a heavily clinking chain. Its an unsettling end to an album that’s sometimes joyous, sometimes unsettling, and always completely unpredictable.

The Only Really Thing is out now via Sparks.
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