Before we were old enough to drive cars, we had bicycles. We didn’t have to worry about parking tickets or whether we had enough fuel to get home. We had no speed limits, just the limit of how far our legs and pedals could take us. There was that certain feeling of freedom that washed over you as you coasted effortlessly down a long, winding hill. Really, there isn’t much that compares to that sort of freedom. The other night the latest album by The Spinto Band, Shy Pursuit (Redeye Label), found its way to my ears. Oddly enough, the record brought me back to those moments coasting down those sweeping, sloping roads. It’s carefree and colorful and absolutely ridden with an unrestrained bliss.
Shy Pursuit, compared to previous releases, is anything but shy; it is unforgivably fresh and asserts itself as something new and standalone, which was a criticism received with their last release Moonwink. Oh yes, they still remain jolly and twee, do not fret! However, they’ve cleaned up their sound, dropping the lo-fi and sinking their teeth into something more polished. The album opens with “Cookie Falls,” a lazy, free fall into a floating melody that illustrates the touched up, glossy nature of this record well. “Muesli,” a standout for sure, is textbook pop that drums up some pretty heavy Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison flavors.
If there is one thing The Spinto Band consistently does well, it is writing incredibly catchy and well-crafted pop songs, for example, “Keep Them Alive” or “Take It” (which seems to takes some notes from Weezer during the band’s Pinkerton days). There is quite a bit of variety to Shy Pursuit, but it still manages to feel like a whole. This record, more than any of their others, is most certainly cohesive and well plotted. You can hear the attention to the subtle details that are often overlooked or overworked. You can hear the meticulous and steady hand that it took to place everything as perfectly as possible. “Jackhammer” and “Leave Yourself Alone” are testaments to this. “The Living Things” closes the record out on a sweet and simple note with just a touch of Mexican folk infused strings and a pair of maracas.
Shy Pursuit is the lighthearted sort of music that downhill bike riding enthusiasts have been waiting to hear for a while. When other bands are putting out material that seems so manufactured and forced, The Spinto Band lets the pieces fall together on their own, creating something that just sounds better. For a group of musicians who have been running the race since 1995, which is impressive on its own, it’s definitely good to see that they’re still pushing themselves further and further. Shy Pursuit is a big step in a welcomed direction.