Spitalfield - Stop Doing Bad Things
Release Date: March 22, 2005
Record Label: Victory
Spitalfield’s Remember Right Now was a ridiculously good pop rock album that never became as popular as it should have. Sure, Spitalfield gathered a decent following after its release, but the band didn’t really get the push they deserved, unlike several of their Victory Records label mates. Spitalfield’s new album, Stop Doing Bad Things, sees the band opting for a more mature, straight-forward, rock n roll sound that perhaps doesn’t play to their strength of writing catchy pop rock songs, but still deserves to be recognized and respected, which it has not been. I have a theory though: the album’s second half is more like Remember Right Now than the first and is definitely the stronger half—I’m assuming most people only listened to the first few tracks and then tossed the CD aside, missing out on the best part of the album, hence the lack of interest . Don’t make that mistake: give the entire CD a chance. Stop Doing Bad Things is a very good album that, while maybe not as good as Remember Right Now, deserves more attention than is being given to it, and is excellent in its own right.
I read a review on aversionline.com a couple years ago that described Spitalfield’s sound on Remember Right Now as a blend of Texas is the Reason and Jimmy Eat World, which I find to be extremely accurate. The description still holds true for Stop Doing Bad Things, though as I mentioned before, Spitalfield now has more of a driving, straight-forward feel to most of their songs. The vocals are smooth and laid-back, with frequent backup vocals and harmonies in the choruses. The often swirling, sometimes flanged guitar lead lines complement the crunchy, open chords of the rhythm guitar very well, such as in “So I Heard You Joined a Convent” and especially “The Future is Now.” However, clean guitars are used a good amount too, particularly in verses, coloring either palm-muted rhythm guitars or working together with other lead lines. The bass has a lot of “bite” and is really assertive, helping to drive the rhythm section with good energy.
The album’s first track, “So I Heard You Joined a Convent,” starts off with just drums and a bass line, when swelling guitars eventually join in on the same riff and the band rocks out for a little bit. Ultimately, the song is a little stale, pretty much because the main riff is just boring, but I love the part of the chorus when the background vocals chant “Hey now / Hey now.” The next song, “Texa$ With a Dollar Sign” is one of the stronger tracks on the album with very colorful chords and lead lines during the intro and catchy choruses, a nice, active bass line during the verses, mini-breakdowns, and a meandering bridge somewhat in the vein of Days Away. The next few songs aren’t anything too special, though the mellow “Restraining Order Blues” has a really soothing pre-chorus and a somewhat “stop and go” feel at the beginning of the choruses, with the unmemorable yet oh so memorable lines “You can throw out the instructions / We don’t need them anymore / I know where we are going / If I can just get out the door.”
The album really picks things up with “The Future is Now,” one of the faster-paced songs which starts off with a really cool distorted hammer-on/pull-off guitar riff alone with drums, joined by crunchy chords after a few repetitions. The verse incorporates the hammer-on/pull-off riff as well, along with very lively bass playing and tight drums. I know I sound like a broken record, but the chorus is catchy as hell, and the bridge sounds really cool with lots of guitar lead line layers. “Van Buren” sounds like it could be a song off of Remember Right Now, so I obviously like it a lot. The rest of the album finishes off strong—nothing mind-blowing, just solid songs.
Ed Rose took the captain’s seat for this album, and helped to create a sound that is somehow both raw and glossy at the same time. As mentioned before, the bass has a nice “bite” to it, yet it still retains its warmth and fullness. The guitars are crunchy and clear, just like on Remember Right Now, and the drums sound pretty good, although maybe a little harsh or something—I’m not sure how to describe it. However, that “harshness” (if you can even call it that) helps to give the album that raw feeling I was talking about, especially when combined with the somewhat unrefined bass sound. Overall, the production is very good, and suits the more “rock n roll” sound Spitalfield was looking for.
Stop Doing Bad Things is an album that hasn’t been receiving the attention it deserves, and I’m not entirely sure why. In my opinion, it’s not as good as Remember Right Now if you’re into catchy pop rock, but beating that CD is a tall order; however, if you liked Remember Right Now and wished Spitalfield would have taken themselves a little more seriously, this CD is for you. Outstanding.
i bought this album out of curiousity, and i was dissapointed that i spent money on it. there isnt anything on this album that stands out as being unique or different. thats the biggest problem i have with most pop punk bands, too many of them sound generic.