Saturday, March 08, 2008
The Spinanes were a Chicago two-piece outfit from the '90s comprising of singer-guitarist Rebecca Gates and drummer Scott Plouf. They released a couple of singles on the Imp label (lo-fi hepcat label of the day and brothers-in-arms w/ Shrimper and all their brethren) before jumping ship to-then Grunge Central, Sub Pop. They released two albums as a duo on the label, before Plouf left and Gates kept the Spinanes moniker as a solo project for one last album. I have not heard the subsequent LPs after Manos, but I can state that the level of songcraft and the guitar-drums interplay on Manos are quite stunning. Plouf hits his skins hard and always keeps the beat basic and surprisingly heavy in approach, almost like a cardigan-wearing Jon Bonham. He accents every riff to perfection, never clutters a song up w/ unnecessary fills, and lets Gates' guitar and vocal delivery work in perfect synchronicity w/ his beats. Now, before you accuse me of dissecting their music like a scribe for Modern Drummer magazine, I will state that I'm only saying all this because one must get the point across that their minimal line-up works so frighteningly well. Gates never gets flash w/ the guitar licks - just power chords and strums straight from the Indie Rock 101 Handbook - though her sweet voice and surprisingly cynical and bittersweet lyrics (am I wrong here in assuming that some of the songs from Manos are political??) give it an edge which actually makes me remember the record once the needle's left the groove.
I'm not going to say you should rush and out get Manos; it's a record which will simply fill the gap when you feel like hearing some really well-penned pop music, and let's face it: there is nothing wrong with that. There are 12 songs on Manos and they're all good. Case closed.