Autumn has an image. The season is in full swing as the darkened leafs and conkers litter the ground, the nights creep in, and everyone starts wearing scarfs again. But rarely does Autumn have a signature sound. For me, the Delaware-based outfit The Spinto Band will always feature on my Autumn soundtrack. There’s something about their uniquely jerky yet enchantingly melodic character that fits perfectly with the withering scene outside.
Quality exudes out of the band’s 2006 debut album, Nice And Nicely Done; an album that flittered between styles and themes with a quaint elegance. With the release of Moonwink in 2008, it is clear that the group have tried to go further into solidifying their signature sound, but it seems as though they somehow fall short of the charm of their first effort.
Moonwink isn’t bad by any means. With upbeat tracks like ‘Vivian, Don’t’, ‘Pumpkins And Paisley’ and ‘The Carnival’, this sound bursts into life in a flurry of energy. There are also some slight nods back to the more soul-filled moments on their debut, as seen on the sullen ‘They All Laughed’ and the jaunty yet oddly delicate ‘Summer Grof’. One stand out gem, the anthemic ‘Needlepoint’, crystallises exactly what The Spinto Band do best, and that’s exciting the ears of the listener. However, despite these high points, the direction that the band have taken appears to have corrupted their former, rich character. It’s as if Moonwink is the band’s attempt at being younthful and exciting, as opposed to Nice And Nicely Done which now acts as the soulful maturing album. Whether or not this was intentional, Moonwink fails to deliver the same chills and goosebumps that were present in the debut, for example on tracks like ‘Oh Mandy’ and ‘Direct To Helmet’.
Having said all that, Moonwink still manages to impress and delight, and in turn leaves you longing for more material from the band – the hallmark of an engaging album. So, one question remains: what else would feature on the perfect Autumn soundtrack? Any suggestions?