Chicago’s Spread Joy are an intensely tight post punk band that gives everything they got on their 14 minute debut in exciting and short packages. The needling guitar and pacing stop short drums keep every song from Spread Joy in a perfect sequence and create a seamless experience from track 1 to track 10. When you add in the edgy vocal style from Briana Hernandez, which oscillates between narrative and riot grrl, you hear the full impact of Spread Joy.
Right from the 54 second opener, “St. Tropez,” the group starts and stops the instruments with dramatic effect for the first half before finishing with a burning fever. Considering the length of the track it is a remarkable listen as Spread Joy leave nothing to waste. The connection to Wire throughout the album is an easy comparison especially on a track like “Unoriginal” that uses bouncy chords very similar to the band’s “Three Girl Rhumba,” which was last made famous in 94′ with Elastica’s “Connection.” Its an extremely catchy song that also is the albums longest at 2:07.
It’s important to know that even though this is Spread Joy’s debut it has members that played in Negative Scanner and Human Beat which should tell you to expect more before even hitting play. The tracks are ridiculously simple but are so clean. You can almost see the sweat from the intricate guitar work and feel its connection to the drums. Then when you tie in Hernandez’s breezy and spontaneous lyrics it makes this debut memorable. My only complaint – its too short because at its conclusion, Spread Joy will have you begging for another LP to throw on the turntable!
Key Tracks: “St. Tropez” / “Unoriginal” / “Sepia”
Artists With Similar Fire: Dry Cleaning / Perfect Pussy / X-Ray Spex
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony