Consisting mostly of Monmouth University alumni and managed by a Monmouth alum, Spinn is a New Jersey based rock/pop turned alternative country group whose second full-length release, A Little Crazy, is an easy to listen to collection of tunes with some very solid and catchy melodies/compositions.
By no means are these talented ladies amateurs – Spinn has been around since 2006, has played many shows in the NY/NJ area, and released two full-length albums and an EP. One thing that caught my eye from their bios is that besides love, pain, trust, confusion and good friends, they cite tequila as a source of inspiration. After listening, it’s no wonder I can see most of these songs as suitable background music to a bar scene in a movie. Let’s begin…
A Little Crazy, track by track
1. “Quicksand” – A solid opening track that will give you a good idea of what’s to come. After listening a few times, I have come to appreciate how this track wastes no time; it jumps right into the chorus and takes you on a ride through a powerful chord-riff and clear backing vocals. The lead vocal is confident and reminiscent of Heart’s Wilson sisters.
2. “Regret on the Rocks” – A little less in-your-face rocking sound, but nonetheless a catchy melody that I could hear playing in the background of a bar. Strong use of lead guitar fills the gap between verses. Musically speaking, the song has a chord structure that I swear I’ve heard somewhere before but can’t really place…and in no way is that a bad thing. “Regret on the Rocks” keeps the listener interested with different sections and melodic backing vocals.
3. “Heartbreak” – There’s nothing better than chunky distorted chords and a driving rhythm! Three songs in, this is the shortest song on the album but it packs the most punch. The lyrical hook of “Heartbreak” was catchy enough to have me humming along on first listen. If there is anything missing from this track, I feel it needs a short but dirty guitar solo somewhere to break up the structure and feel of the song.
4. “So Hurtful” – Halfway through the album and it’s time to get a little emotional. The lyrics are obviously written by someone who has been “done wrong” as they say. Instrumentally speaking, this song introduces a small, but intelligently placed string section to add to the mise en scene and feel of this track. Spinn’s talent for harmonies definitely can be heard here.
5. “Addicted” – Just like “Quicksand,” this track starts off the second half of A Little Crazy with power chords that don’t waste any time making their point. I feel this song makes the best use of dynamics on the album – the loud parts are loud, the quiet parts are quiet. The lead guitar fills between verses have great tone, but I feel that a powerful song like this should feature a quick, meaningful instrumental solo. Don’t be shy to play more notes, lead guitarist!
6. “A Little Crazy” – Before listening, my expectations for this song were high, as they are for any title track on an album. This is a solid piece that wouldn’t seem out-of-place among the most popular country rock songs. The vocal hook stays with you like something from Sheryl Crow or Shania Twain.
7. “Goodbye Missouri” – This is my personal favorite. As one of the more mellow selections from this album, the lyrics tell a story, the harmonies are on point and the chorus is the catchiest I’ve heard yet! This song is a good example of Spinn putting to use their talent for flowing melodies and compositions.
8. “Shine” – Spinn closes with arguably the poppiest song on the album. Once again, they stick to their verse-chorus-verse-chorus formula to deliver a catchy tune that is liable to be stuck in your head.
Whether Spinn feels like rocking out or playing unplugged, they do so in a consistent way from track to track that will definitely resonate with fans of Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Heart and the Gin Blossoms. The production quality of the album is very good; sounds professional enough to blend in perfectly with 90’s rock or on the country charts. The lead and backing vocals steadily deliver strong female leads, harmonies and lyrical storytelling from song to song. Spinn’s talent for catchy melodies connects the most in songs like “Quicksand,” “Goodbye Missouri” and “Shine”. The group is obviously adept at lyrical and melodic composition. Who would I recommend A Little Crazy to? Any of my friends who appreciate the talents of groups like the Dixie Chicks, Ray Lamontagne, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and other bands of the genre. Although A Little Crazy sticks to a certain formula and style, it does so very well. If Spinn keeps releasing recordings along the likes of A Little Crazy, I believe they will find even greater success, recognition and airplay.