Album Reviews

The Spinto Band: Nice And Nicely Done (Expanded Edition) (Bar/None Records)

The Spinto Band
Nice And Nicely Done (Expanded Edition)
Bar/None Records

Ah, mid-Aughties indie-rock–exploited to the hilt on the burgeoning mp3 blogger scene! So much of it was crap–and one that has only grown infinitely in the decade since it started–but there were a few standouts, not least of which was Delaware-based The Spinto Band. Fronted by friends and songwriting duo Nick Krill and Thomas Hughes, their debut album, Nice And Nicely Done, appeared in 2005 and instantly impressed. The songs were catchy, poppy, and well-produced, and it proved to be one of the rare bands of the time that earned its kudos through damn fine songwriting craft.

Nice And Nicely Done was an apt title, because that’s exactly what the album was: a collection of eleven gorgeous, lushly-arranged indie-pop that bucked the trends of the day and went straight for the listener’s heart.  Modern rock sounds blended gritty rock with New Wave rhythms (“Crack The Whip,” “So Kind Stacy”), while at the same time the band aimed for harmony-laden numbers that hearkened back to traditional pop songwriting (“Direct to Helmet,” “Mountain”). But the real winning numbers came from both camps. “Brown Boxes” was a catchy, kazoo-laden pop number that  instantly drew in listeners with its unique melody and percussion lines, which were tempered by Krill’s crooning. “Oh Mandy,” however, was the album’s winner; a plaintive love song replete with both Theremin and mandolin (!!), its alluring sound was enhanced with some heart-melting singing that was both drop-dead gorgeous and charmingly innocent and plaintive. “Oh Mandy” had the it factor, and was rightly a smash amongst the mp3 bloggers, hipsters, and even charted modestly in Europe.

Heck, even the dozen bonus tracks–taken from the singles and EPs the band released and recorded in the years before Nice And Nicely Done all have a charm to them. The band were right to keep their debut succinct at eleven songs–well, ten, plus a hidden track–and avoiding the temptation to litter its debut with a half dozen previously released early songs. Numbers like “Kind Of A Girl,” “Let’s See What Develops, “Don’t Take It Personal” and “Road To Newark” are all fine numbers of a young and growing and maturing band, but they would have felt awkward and fidgety next to the more polished, mature affair that is Nice and Nicely Done. 

Though the band would release four more albums, unfortunately those didn’t resonate quite as much as this stellar, outstanding debut album, and the band would go on hiatus shortly after releasing its low-key 2013 album Cool Cocoon. But fret not, as recent posts on the band’s Facebook page have declared the band active once again, with tour dates and possible new music to come. Until then, this fine, fun reissue is a reminder of one of the best albums of 2005.

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