The Spill Canvas - Abnormalities EP
Record Label: Sire Records
Release Date: January 12, 2010
I will get something out of the way from the start: I absolutely love The Spill Canvas. Since the release of Sunsets and Car Crashes I have followed the band closely and have watched as they have come into their own as one of the finest talents in the Midwest. Now, nearly two and a half years after the release of No Really, I'm Fine, arguably their most well-rounded album to date, comes the Abnormalities EP. The latest work from the Sioux Falls natives, comprised on Nick Thomas, Dan Ludeman, Landon Heil, and Joe Beck, is without a doubt their finest work to date, despite the brevity of the experience. I am well aware that this is only supposed to be a taste of what is to come, to tide fans over for the time being, but the true impact of this EP release is terrible. The prospect of waiting a few more months for more music is mildly depressing. Yes, this is really that good.
The EP kicks off with "Gateway Drug", a great song with a stomping, hand clapping beat. That is one of the first noticeable things: this EP does not let up on the energy, blasting away throughout. Those looking for the second coming of "The Tide" or "Lullaby" may find themselves disappointed. While Gateway Drug is the weakest song on the EP, it is by no means bad, or even average, being a catchy number that has an intriguing rhythm you will definitely dig. Nick shows off his vocal prowess with ease on the song as well. He doesn't attempt to be something he's not, trying to show off an insane range or flashy vocal runs. Nick is an incredibly good singer and can hold his own with the best in the business, without the gimmicks that many vocalists bring into the mix. "Don't Let Your Enemies Become Friends" follows and really kicks it up a notch. The bass and guitar really work well together to make the song instantly memorable. After one listen you will know the chorus and be singing along at the top of your lungs. It implants itself in your head very easily and features very memorable lyrics. The chorus contains probably the most memorable lyric on the EP ("I should have known, Iím better off on the floor alone. `Cause sometimes closure doesnít close out anything at all").
The best track closes the EP, "Good Graces, Bad Influence". Over the past few weeks this song has made its way up my list of favourite Spill Canvas songs, and will likely continue to climb. The song is probably the strongest Nick has ever been vocally, and the lyrics show off some of the great lyricism Nick is known for ("I said 'You induce my episodes, crack my moral code, desperately delicious in your housewife glass life"). The entire song is a conversation between two lovers and the sexual tension is unbelievable. The lyricism on this song alone is what made me give it the rating I did. On top of it all, Joe has some excellent drumming on the song. Again, not super flashy or anything, but it fits the song perfectly. The chorus is absolutely phenomenal and is likely to be popular at shows. The way Nick sings the words, "Little mischievous, remain devious" sends chills running down my spine (in a good way). I cannot say enough good things about this song.
The opening track sums up my opinion on this EP perfectly: "You are my gateway drug, you give me a taste for the harder stuff and I don't wanna stop." It is insanely catchy, well-written, and displays a band that is confident and has truly found their sound; The Spill Canvas has arguably released their best work to date. Despite clocking in at just under 10 minutes in length, the Abnormalities EP shows the band in top form, and each song has something to offer. For those who have yet to listen to The Spill Canvas, their latest work is a great place to start and (hopefully) a sign of where the band is headed with their upcoming LP.
Everyone should check it out. I love it, if the review/score didn't give that away.
Like I said, it's arguably their best work to date. I was always a One Fell Swoop fanboy, but over the past few months realized that No Really, I'm Fine is far more consistent and has probably three songs of my top five favourite Spill Canvas songs (Reckless Abandonment, Appreciation and the Bomb, Lullaby). Other two would probably be Good Graces, Bad Influence and The Dutch Courage, but my favourite tracks change around quite a bit.
Overall though, if this EP is any sign, the upcoming full-length will absolutely blow all of their previous LPs away.