Album Review by Mark Bayross
Spraydog come from Newcastle Upon Tyne and have got journalists whisking superlative soufflés in the so-called ‘alternative’ music press for the last couple of years. “Spiky!” shouted the NME; “quietly assured magic!” yelped the Melody Maker; “great melody!” winked the press release.
Spraydog make the kind of discordant din music journalists love to champion as “the future of rock”. You know the drill: band bludgeon their instruments into a god awful mess of feedback and yelling and journalists climb over each other to dribble about their “soaring beauty” and point out that they’ve, like, “always been into their early work”.
The future of rock, eh? Back in 1990, bands like Sonic Youth and Pavement were mauling their guitars when Spraydog were in lo-fi nappies, and doing it with a lot more style. They exuded a kind of detached cool that began with The Velvet Underground and followed a trail through SY, Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine. Of course, for every Thurston Moore, J Mascis or Kevin Shields, there was a troop of talentless noiseniks out to induce migraines in the name of Art, but along with this cool demeanour, they found time to include something Spraydog seem to have overlooked: tunes.
Take a song like BEWARE THE SUN. A clutch of guitarists thrash out a rolling noise-heavy riff while boy/girl singing duo Steve and Annika warble their way through the song like they have a gun to their heads and actually hitting a note will result in the trigger being pulled. But surely I’m missing the point, the indie mafia will protest; Spraydog are supposed to sound like that – as the press release carefully points out, they have “an unwillingness to compromise their own ideals”. This will sound familiar to devotees of THE FAST SHOW: Spraydog are the real-life incarnation of Colon.
The signs are all there before you even begin to play the music: crappy album sleeve; first-name only band credits (presumably so members can leave and escape prosecution); and immensely irritating clever-student sub-Cocteau Twins song titles (AMARINTH, SHADOW, BOX, LUNCH, BILDERBOK and, ugh, SQUIGGLE).
This is not helped by the discrepancy between some epic song titles (CUPID ON A DOLPHIN MOSAIC, “…DENOTES THE PASSAGE OF TIME…”) and some depressingly limp music. Even more depressing is the thought that this is Spraydog’s second album. I’d hate to think how shoddy the first one sounded.
Still, I don’t want to end on a negative note. Three reasons to be cheerful: 1. They aren’t trying to sound like The Beatles or Boyzone, 2. The bass is quite good, and 3. LINTERED is only 35 minutes long.