After a short hiatus last week, I am back again and ‘Spillin’ The Beans about the double EP “Reuben and Coldcut” by Spiller, who are an Oregon-based quartet and not an Italian DJ and producer with a famous connection to Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
The press release informs me that “Eugene, Oregon-based quartet Spiller embrace their Pacific Northwest roots and DIY mentality. Their diverse taste provides listeners with a melting pot of rock, math, jamming and jazz. With a passion for live performance, Spiller encapsulates the spontaneous nature of improvisation while combining it with an indie-rock flare. With their latest double EP, Reuben and Coldcut, Spiller has taken their sound to the next level, both lyrically and musically. “
My ears tell me that the band is playing some very interesting and quite unorthodox guitar rock, which is fine by me, because while I have nothing against DJ Spiller, I’d rather be listening to some musicians with guitars right now. If you would also like to listen to some of that, you can join me right here , where you’ll also find a lot of their other music too. The EP was released back on the 27th September so, one more, I’m late to the party, but now I’m here, I am enjoying myself.
The music is tagged as “math rock”, which is a term that I’ve never really understood, because it seems to encompass so many different-sounding artists that it is almost meaningless. It is definitely a modern sound, there isn’t a great deal of nostalgic psychedelia or 70s folk-rock going on, but there is some excellent writing and plenty of drama with light and dark, loud and soft etc going on. In places you get some jazzy swing which adds an interesting texture to the music, and the band aren’t afraid to improvise and throw in extended instrumental passages to what are tight and well-considered pieces of music. The songs have come out of being performed and I think that is reflected in the sheer confidence of the music. These are therefore songs that the band know very well it shows in the depth and intricacy of the music. I love the chiming guitar sound that adorns a number of the tracks here, it has a piercing bell-like clarity, especially on the final track, January, which starts with a shifting, drifting quality but builds up a real intensity, with swirling sounds and haunting vocals.
I like the sound of these songs, there is space in the music and they aren’t burdened with being over-produced. There is also politics here, especially in Grapes Of Wrath, and that isn’t a bad thing by any means, but it isn’t just polemic, because this track is probably the most immediate one here. with some nice jazz-inflected guitar work and a terrific rocky passage that reminded me a bit of Wishbone Ash.
This is intriguing and clever music, but it also has passion. Give Spiller a listen, you’ll enjoy yourself.