A horrible hack

Spy versus Spy


Year Released: 1998
Format: CD
Label: Subjugation
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Jun 13, 2007
I have heard the band that within 12 months will be the best in the UK and they is called Spy Versus Spy...

Wow. I still can't quite believe that a British band has dared to do this. 6 songs, a swirling wonder of Cap'n Jazz styled, hoarse shoutiness and endearingly erratic brilliance, bundled together with the kind of dynamic unsensibilities of both that band and Braid, a spot of pop genius, and maybe even there is some Get Up Kids in there too. Not totally sure which bit, it might be some of the guitar work or vocals, but I know I get that band in my head at times when I hear this music.

It's seconds into "Game Ruiner" and you're stunned to silence. The flitting hyperactive guitars that just don't seem to settle into a pattern, people doing two different things at once on the chorus, one singing, the other shouting, Braid style. It suddenly stops for a heart-rending gentler section. Then it's off again. And you're still stunned. A British band, and they're doing *this*!

And there is just more of the same over the next 5 songs. Songs like the groovily titled "How The Cat Was Invented" (alas, it doesn't tell you how). They all utilise the hoarse vocals and the completely awesome slower parts to fantastic effect, you just *have* to hear "Mocking Function" when it just goes all minimal and quiet for ages before exploding in your face like a musical bomb you just failed to disarm. I'm having trouble picking out something to say about the other songs, as they are so hard to explain. Whatever - they are all great, and you will fall in love.

So it might take you a while to get used to their bouncing rythms and initially odd seeming song structures. But persevere and you get Spy versus Spy. I had to do revision for an exam today, and this came in the post. I put it on repeat, and it went round 4 times in a row this afternoon. 2 hours. My revision didn't move on that far. I was too busy gazing out of the window at the rain, lost in the music and whatever thoughts I had at the time. Because, like all the best music of this genre, you can't listen to it without thinking about something or other. And normally that something or other is not what should be thinking about at the time.

In the week that the song by that band called Gay Dad has been hyped to the rafters we do truly have a new band to shout about (hoarsely) on these shores. But this'll be criminally ignored, except by you. Best emo rock in England, man. To corrupt the title of a Snuffy Smile punk compilation.

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