Review: The Spill Canvas – Abnormalities

Artist: The Spill Canvas
Album: Abnormalities
Genre: Rock
Label: Sire

On their 9th release, The Spill Canvas like to tease. Having spent the past year working on new material and going about their everyday lives, the boys from Sioux Falls break their silence with the Abnormalities EP. Featuring three brand new tracks, the band continues to expand their sound by dangling glimpses of new ideas in front of us while we await their new full length due out later this year and if this is any sign of what The Spill Canvas have up their sleeves, then I couldn’t be more happy to know these boys are back.

The Spill Canvas arose from frontman Nick Thomas’ mind and has since flourished from an acoustic side project of Nodes of Ranvier to a full-blown rock band that consistently pushes themselves to grow on each release. Abnormalities in no ways breaks this cycle as the three included tracks traverse a great sonic expanse and show the group really experimenting with their sound. For instance, the lead track, “Gateway Drug,” begins feeling very rustic, but with the kind of hook Thomas’ has grown to be expected to produce. His voice quivers with awkward confidence throughout the verses until his true raw power comes out on the chorus which is sure to get stuck in heads across this land. It’s simple, yet unique, and is applicable to both sexes. We’re not talking another song one sex is ashamed to sing along to, but rather just a great track about a poor relationship decision that I think many will relate to.

However, as great as the first track is, it holds not a candle to the following two songs. First up, “Don’t Let Your Enemies Become Friends” comes in smoothly with a beat following drum/bass line, but never really grabs us until Thomas’ lowered tone comes in for the build up which leads to a very relaxed chorus the flows beautifully. The craftsmanship of this song takes what would normally be a simplistic tune to a level of sonic depth that old school TSC fans will really latch onto. This is of course followed by the most intriguing song on the album, the funk-pop infused “Good Graces, Bad Influence.” The entire group really shines here through very intricate and engaging song structure and rhythm. If this song doesn’t get you to both dance and think, I don’t know what will.

Having followed Nick Thomas’ career from the early days, I can easily say this is some of his most impressive work to date. As a whole, the side project that became the full-blown band known as The Spill Canvas use Abnormalities to showcase that not only are they impressive pop rock songwriters, they have so much still to reveal. I’m hoping this release is a launching pad of sorts for what The Spill Canvas will become in 2010 and beyond because if that’s the case, Abnormalities may just be the warm up to what could be the album of 2010.

Here’s hoping TSC has about 14 more songs of this caliber for us to hear in 2010 because they are terrific.

Score: 9/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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