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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Colin Spring

How I Came to Cry These Tears of Cool

Review by Gary Hill

I was really impressed with the disc that Colin Spring did with the Band that Murdered Silence. That was a very captivating release. Well, Spring sent me this solo album quite some time ago and it's taken me quite a while to get to reviewing it. The truth is, you really have to be in the right mood to review it. This has more of the singer songwriter sort of vibe that was featured on the aforementioned disc, it's just that a lot of this is rather folk related. Not that that's a bad thing, but a good number of tracks here feel rather like Bob Dylan's early work. The truth is, this is a strong release for those who enjoy that style of music. The disc's title (along with a lot of the lyrics and song titles) attests to Spring's gift with the written word. The man is cool. You just need to be in the right frame of mind to really appreciate this album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Joe McCarthy is Sweeping Off His Grave
 A folk rock sort of texture, with the organ and general arrangement leading one to think of Dylan in his period with The Band, makes up the motif of this cut. It shows off Spring's songwriting skills. A rather Pink Floyd-like instrumental break is a nice change of pace. The lyrics seem to be comparing the McCarthy era politics with the current political environment.

Does She Still?
A more personal sort of ballad structure makes this one up. It feels like a much more intimate piece of music. I suppose I can hear a bit of Bruce Springsteen in the mix here.
Lover, There's a Light On
 OK, so it's just a little thing, but I really like the count in on this one. Spring begins it with "one" to start the path up to "four." After each number, Carla Torgerson adds her number. The thing is, she's counting down from "four" to "one." Eh, I know, you have to be there, but I think it's pretty cool. This duet has a bit of an Irish feel to it and the overall texture is a cool mellow acoustic driven song. The overlayers on the track lend more of a full atmosphere, but still this is essentially a pretty picked acoustic guitar piece.
Give My Regrets to Broadway
This one has a cool funky sort of groove to it. The mode isn't that different from the other material here in other ways, but that's a nice bit of variety. I particularly like the sound of the bass guitar on this one. The whole track reminds me quite a bit of Cracker.

November
A more laid back, acoustic guitar folk approach leads this one off. Piano is added, but the track still doesn't rise up far from this basis. That said, it doesn't really need to lift up much because this is one of the best songs on the album. There are some moments where the arrangement gets a bit more developed, but it's not a huge change up. Overall this just seems to do a great job of combining a compelling performance with a strong composition. It's a sheer winner.
Let's Burn the Guitars
This comes in with an even more sedate motif. It's got a mellow texture of a Bob Dylan like piece of music. There is a rather tasty guitar solo later (how appropriate), but overall this one pretty much stays where it starts.
Chinatown
With a more bouncing, full arrangement, this one feels rather like a classic rock tune. The Bob Dylan elements are certainly here on this one, too. Eventually this one gets worked into a far more developed arrangement (for a couple segments) and I hear a little Grateful Dead on it.
Life Out on the Fringe
This is another sedate piece of music. There's a touch of a country folk feel here, but strings also add a nice touch. The main impetus (as is the case with a lot of the disc) comes from the lyrics and Spring's vocals. I can't tell you why, but I really like this one a lot.
Culiacan
 Here the country tones are more prominent, but this also has some textures that lead me to think of Chris Isaaks. OK, so Isaaks does have a definite rockabilly feel to his music, but still. Overall this is one of the more dramatic pieces on the disc and another winner.
Rosa, Rosa from Barcelona
As the harmonica and acoustic guitar lead this one off, I challenge you not to think of Dylan. It didn't work did it? Nope, I couldn't do it either. As it drops to the verse chorus segment those references fade about, but overall it still has a lot of similarities to Dylan's work.

Sistine Chapel Ceiling
Well, this one is more of a rocker, but I still hear Dylan on it - think of the early segments of his electric period. It's one of my favorites on the CD.

Fresh Kill in Nowhereville
A sedate acoustic folk texture makes up this track. This one has a certain charm despite an occasional awkwardness. I suppose the same could be said of a lot of Dylan's music.
Bonus Track - Joe McCarthy /Artis the Spoonman Version (Wang Dang Sweet Spoontang)
 This is an alternate recording of the disc's opener and features (bet you can't guess) spoon playing. Did you get it? I'm impressed. This is not bad, and since it's a bonus track, I guess you can't complain.

 
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