by / November 24th, 2009 /

Spiral Stairs – The Real Feel

 3/5 Rating

(Domino Records)

As one of the main contributors to Pavement in the 90’s, then Preston School of Industry for the last decade, Scott Kannberg is now the man and main contributor behind Spiral Stairs. This album still features the members of Preston but the sound here is very much his own as opposed to the bands’. This is a man at ease with himself and there is less wallowing in the jingle-jangle guitars and indie upbeat to this first -solo’ album, more the singer-songwriter with a purpose.

Jangling guitars still introduce the album on -True Love’, but here Kannberg is a man with focus and telling stories with a message. There is also more of a darker side to this album with tracks like the opener and -Call The Ceasefire’, but also moments of foot-tapping fun like on the kooky -Cold Change’ and the alt country of -Almighty Mighty Fall’. We also rock out with the bar room blues of the follow up tracks -Subiaco Shuffle’ and the dark melancholy -Wharf-Hand Blues’. There are even traces of Gary Moore here as opposed to the indie pedigree of old.

The repetition on the curiously titled -Maltese T’ (Maltese Terrier) tires slightly and adds an unnecessary minute to the song, but may be electrifying live. Also another to watch out for live will be the power punk of -Stolen Pills’. However for the close of the album on -Blood Money’ we drift back into singer songwriter environment (after 17 seconds of the synth-based -The Real Feel’).

Currently supporting Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü/Sugar fame), I doubt he will tour these islands in the next few months, but who knows – this album is released well in time to give a chance to tour and promote it before the inevitable Pavement anniversary reunion next year.

A Note for the collector – the LP version of the album will be released with an exclusive 7″ (‘Hey Folk Singa!’/’The Moodist’).

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