Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: The Spies “Televolution”

Based in Los Angeles and formed in late 2005, The Spies have been perfecting their brand of indie-pop for five years. With two self-released albums (“Old Ghosts” in 2007 and “Televolution” in 2009), two music videos, one national tour, and multiple song placements in Film and TV (CW, FOX, ABC) the band has been building a very loyal fan base since 2006. Conceived as collaboration between longtime friends and Philadelphia transplants, Leo Francis and Mark Matkevich, The Spies have evolved into much more with the addition of Adrian Barrio and Dylan Giagni.

“Televolution” manages to stay true to the band’s indie-pop roots, but has plenty of attitude and rock swagger to appeal to an even larger fan base. This record gets better on every spin – like any good spy, the hooks sneak up on you and eventually take you by surprise. Stealthy melodies! The brief welcoming tune “Bang Bang” features a bouncy piano beat and sets the stage for their sidestep in powerpop, but nothing more. The title track has a moodier, heavier groove to fit the lyrical content, but the mildly Beatles-inspired chorus makes for a satisfying juxtaposition. The upbeat “National Pastime” swings back towards the pop end of the spectrum with a solid hook in chorus worth returning to. “Radio Callout” is a perfect example of one of the tunes needing a couple spins to reap the rewards – this subtle tune doesn’t grab immediately, but with a repeat listen it becomes an addiction. “You Got Some Nerve” is one of my favorite tracks, with a slinky rock groove and sweet hook in the chorus. The harmonies in the chorus of “Paper Trail” make it a worthwhile listen as well.

“Televolution” is one of those rare discs catching a band reaching the end of the learning curve. Their next, third release promises the charm. Recommended in you like Stroke 9, Dada, or IKE.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7

The Spies on MySpace. Official site.

Listen to “You Got Some Nerve”