Spindle: The Calm Before
With their first release since 2006, Spindle have created a beautiful pop record full of beautiful melodies and sonic wonder. The EP, titled The Calm Before, manages to pull of something that is nearly impossible in a local music scene – relevance after a long-term, relative hibernation.
The five song EP can best be described as a cross between Tor Amos and Warpaint with Tori’s songwriting and Warpaint’s sense of space and dynamics – the songs are huge, something you don’t often hear from a local band. “Carousel” kicks off the album with a creepy, but engaging, circus feel and slides seemingly into the guitar oriented “Retrograde,” which highlight’s singer Gina Wong’s vocal delivery. “Quicksilver” follows up with a dark and haunting sound, balanced next by “Bait,” a piano ballad that again showcases’s Wong’s vocals as they float on top of the piano melody. The soft, “A Real Left Turn,” closes out the far too short EP – leaving fans wanting more, much more.
While the songwriting is well thought out and flows amazingly, the near perfect recording adds a very important dimension to Spindle’s sound. Their grand songwriting would’ve fallen flat without an impeccable sound – it’s broad, dynamic, and full, everything Spindle could want.
But, while the EP is fantastic with great songwriting and a professional sound, I can’t help but wonder about Spindle – why did it take them nearly eight years to release new music? Why do they rarely play live? How does a band that doesn’t release new music or play live have over 2000 fans on Facebook? Spindle is an enigma to me and the more I listened to the album, the more I was confused by who they are. I understand why they have as many fans as they do – they are really good at what they do and if their sound is what you are into, they’ll love it too. But they’ve managed to be popular almost in spite of themselves – the formula is to play live, tour, release music, repeat until the band is bigger or ends. Not play a bit, go into hiding, play a bit, go into hiding – a cycle over eight years. It’s not that they were completely dormant – Spindle did remixes, rough mixes of practices, pictures and everything in between. They somehow managed to stay active without being active.
And where does this leave their fans? With hope. Hope that this is the beginning of the band being a band that plays live often, hope that this is the beginning of the band hitting the road, hope that is isn’t the last bit of music from Spindle until 2022. Spindle is good – really good and if this isn’t the start of something bigger and better, then it’ll be an opportunity missed.
Here’s hoping this is the start of something beautiful.