By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Local pop-rock quartet Spook Easy's nine-track debut LP, produced by Eric Harvey of Spoon, is a fast listen, with all but one song clocking in at under four minutes. The title track introduces the album with bright acoustic guitars, as frontwoman Stephanie Burns emits disjointed lyrics. Her vocals get a little nasal in pitch, but what the song lacks in narrative it makes up for in sing-along appeal.
The candidly Spoon-influenced "We Don't Sleep in the Night" features guitarist Logan Kelson on vocals, and is perhaps the most promising track on the album, full of jangly guitars and sharp, cheery keyboards. "I'm Tired" takes a turn to the dark side, as Burns repeatedly sneers "I'm tired" over a rush of guitars and synth. By the 12th refrain, the song, like Burns, is, well, tired. "Short Circuit" starts off dreamy enough, but suddenly erupts into a boozy country bar ballad.
The album, which follows up 2010 EP On a Bad Ship, is sleek and well-produced, teetering on the edge of commercial accessibility, but it never quite gains the momentum it needs to transcend their influences. There's a core of cohesion missing, too many dynamics at play. But Spook Easy is a relatively new band, so there's always room to build that narrative muscle and make it more their own.
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