Alum Review: Past and Present by The Spindles (2018) (Self Released)

Concert crowd at live music festival

I hereby officially declare, that from this date on, that I, the controlling member (also known as the only member) of the blog known as janglepophub, will never use the word quirky in any further reviews. Disappointed ‘quirky’ fans should know that this decision has not been taken lightly and is certainly not an indication of a dysfunctional attitude towards the word quirky (aka quirkism) as some of my best friends have used the word frequently and indeed could be considered as such themselves. 

Rest assured this is merely a reaction to a recent review I posted which used the word quirky and resulted in an e-mail being received from a completely sane (and in no way quirky reader) who informed me that the usage of the word in reference to one of his favourite bands, did in fact mean that I was a hugely derogatory term for female genitals and that in fact I deserved to have ten types of human waste kicked from my body…apart from that he seemed quite nice.

Not taking any chances though, I decided that the next review should be about the least quirky (ooops sorry, it is a hard habit to break) of bands I have recently listened to. It was well overdue anyway as my musical attentions do tend to embark upon prolonged phases whereby a lust for all things qui,  sorry wacky, weird or idiosyncratic, sometimes force me to lose touch with the brilliance of traditional guitar/power/jangle-pop.

This album/band is the ultimate palate cleanser. They are the perfect way for me to shake myself free from the sully of ‘different’ I have immersed myself in recently and make an inevitable return back to the original jangle-pop / power music that I fell in love so many years ago. They are not weird in any way at all, but that does not matter, for they provide a glorious melodic entertainment that confirms that the traditional power-pop and jangle-pop generated in bygone musical eras, will never really die. 

Power-pop is the albums default/specialist mode with majestically familiar tracks such as  Santa Fe (see below),  Annette and Mrs Miller all having the ability to wrap the listener up in the warm comfortable sense of familiarity as strains on 70/80’s power-pop bands such as The Plimsouls and The Raspberries became engagingly apparent. 

Lyrically, writer Jeff Janulis  ensures many of the tracks remain faithful to the usual power-pop themes of heartbreak, heartache and longing and remains faithful to a genre that tends to weave these into catchy melodies and hooks that would ordinarily be atypical to the lyrics. However the album take a detour from this standard and addresses the far more emotionally complex issues of suicide in both I Want My Baby Back and Almost the Same with both tracks being an absolute testament to the Janulis pen.

Unsurprisingly for this blog, it is the tracks with the extra levels of jangled guitar work that really stand out. Tracks such as the cover of The Hollies Look Through Any Window. with its 60s The Byrds style inflections, Peace with the Past and the albums true stand out and opener, Prisoner of War (see live version below) tick just about every 60s influenced jangle-pop box you could possibly reference.

Prisoner of War (Live)

In general this album is a genuine reminder of music from a purer, less complicated period and is something that should be the palate cleanser in every jangle/power pop fans collection.

Artist Links

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