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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Spin Doctors

Nice Talking To Me

Review by Gary Hill

After breaking up for a while funky jam band hit makers Spin Doctors are back with a new album, and it's a hot one. It captures the sound that made them famous, but also shows a band that has grown and matured from the time away. Now, I have to admit, all I ever heard from these guys before now were the radio songs, but this disc seems a bit harder edged than that. Either they always had that sound in their repertoire or time has given them a new sense of crunch. In fact, some of this material reminds me quite a bit of Red Hot Chili Peppers, but really that's not too much of a stretch from where Spin Doctors were to begin with. It's interesting listening to the disc to hear some of the sounds we've come to associate with newer bands (Bare Naked Ladies comes to mind), but it really seems likely that these guys influenced a lot of those acts. This is definitely a fine return for the group.

This also includes a DVD which is composed of a short documentary "featurette" and video of five live tracks. The documentary includes interviews about the reunion of the band. It covers how the band came about getting back together and the making of the new album. The live video includes four tracks from the new disc along with one Spin Doctors classic. It's certain that long time fans of the band will eat this up. It also might be a good place for someone to start to learn about this killer outfit. Let's hope they stay around.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Nice Talking To Me
A crunchy, almost metallic, noisy guitar starts this rocker. As it kicks in its funky hard-edged rocking style feels a lot like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is a strong opener and a tasty cut.
Sugar
More music like the previous one, this cut, though has a bit less raw sound. It's another potent hard rocking jam with some great funky textures.
Margarita
This one's less crunchy and more fun loving, but still a solid cut. It's a nice change up.

Happily Ever After
More fun playful music with a classic Spin Doctors sound, this one is another that brings in variation from the openers.

I'd Like To Love You (But I Think You Might Be Crazy)
Noisy, crunchy, somewhat dissonant sounds start this killer, somewhat space rock oriented hard-edged energetic jam. This is the brightest star on the disc to this point, and a real screamer. At times it almost feels like modern King Crimson. It's weird, but oh so tasty.

Can't Kick The Habit
Acoustic guitar based tones start this intimate feeling balladic number. If there were a perfect point to drop it down, it would have been right here after the chaos of the previous tune. This is a strong mellow number that gets more lush and powerful as it carries forward. At times this one feels like the mellower side of Radiohead, but the band manage to crunch it out in places.

My Problem Now
This feels like The Spin Doctors do the Stones with a touch of The Black Crowes thrown in for good measure. It's an awesome new SD classic.

Genuine
Hard edged frantic rock, this smoker is a killer nod to '70's hard rock. It would have been quite at home in 1974. It's another strong one, one part SD, one part Zep, one part Steppenwolf. The guitar solo segment on this one is especially meaty and rather Hendrixish. This one really stomps and is my favorite on the disc.

Tonight You Should Steal Me Away
More standard Spin Doctors good time jamming takes over from the power of the previous number. They turn this into a very powerful excursion later.
Safety Pin
This one is somewhat off kilter, but still catchy and an energetic hard rocker with some killer jamming. It's a very strong conclusion to a very strong disc.

 
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