Dirty, spacey punk rawk—in a nutshell, that’s what The Spits are bringing. We could talk costumes, we could talks subgenres, and we could talk recording quality (and we will), but The Spits are a concept best described in those few words. Sound-wise, it’s largely Ramonescore run through a fuzzy filter, so much so that it sounds like half of the vocals were recorded with a wet rag over the microphone. For the most part this distortion doesn’t affect the tempo, although things get a weirdly wrong-rpm kind of spaciness, for example in “Fallout Beach,” perhaps best summarized by its lyrics “The tide is high/ and so am I.” In many ways think what would happen if Devo and The Ramones were placed in a supercollider. (And I expect that to happen any day now.)
While the band does utilize some keyboards, they maintain the Devo similarities even without. The slower songs tend to use the keys more, and those (such as closer “Last Man on Earth” and the aforementioned “Fallout Beach”) have a stoned space-rock sensibility about them. The other songs are faster 4/4 punk with repetitive refrains and no time for catching their breath. Only two songs top 2 minutes, and none top 2:16. Still, the band doesn’t sound hyper as much as they are focused.
Meanwhile, the lo-fi recording is a key element to the sound, giving fuzzy guitars and bass and muddled drums and vocals. It plays well with the space-age themes the band touches on and it adds to their mystique as costumed rockers, but it also works on the record, isolated from any live gimmickry. It’s lo-fi, but carefully engineered, maintaining the same tone throughout the record and giving a feel of continuity between the quick-playing songs—you know, so it feels like you’ve just listened to Side A on your 12”—the record is that brief.
As a whole, this kind of thing doesn’t tend to draw me in, but the quick songs, nonstop energy, and consistency across the record definitely increase its repeat value and a live show would probably seal the deal. On its own as a piece of wax or plastic, The Spits V is a solid pop-punk number that will appeal equally to Ramonescore and nerdrock fans while maybe reaching out to a few fans of space rock like Comets on Fire in the process.
7.0 / 10
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