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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

SPiN - Believe

SPiN - Believe
2010, How About Now Records

Philly rockers SPiN return this week with a new, refined sound and fourteen dynamic tracks on their third release, Believe.  Over the course of the past few years SPiN tried out material on two EPs, SPiN and h-Factor, but makes the jump to a full length album with all of the gusto and a slightly more refined pop sensibility that is certain to see their collective fortunes rising.

Believe opens with the brief piano intro "Impromptu V.H2" before launching in the dark melodic rocker "Hurt By You".  The song is about heartbreak and the refusal to succumb to someone's hurtful actions.  This is a big change for SPiN, showing both a greater level of subtlety and a more streamlined sound than in the past.  Distinctive harmonies dot the melodic landscape in a dark anthem you won't soon get out of your head.  "Don't Look Down" is a highly catchy rock tune; a likely single and another track that will get stuck in your noggin and hang around for a while.  "Believe" is a rock n roll love song from an eternal cynic who’s found a bright light in one person.  There's a bar rock quality to this tune that's appealing but the song also has a hook that practically sings itself to you.

SPiN regroups on "Left Behind", a middle of the road power ballad, and "Over And Over", a solid album track.  Things get lively again on "Wake Up Girl", which sounds like it was written to a friend on the verge of walking away from a good relationship.  It's a musical wake-up call with a distinct melody and aurally pleasing arrangement.  "Shine" is culled from h-Factor.  We commented on the unintended similarities between "Shine" and Lonestar's "Amazed" in the chorus.  While that similarity hasn't been dispelled in this new version, the arrangement has been reworked significantly, giving the song more of a distinctive personality.  It's a great tune with more than a bit of muscle.

"After All" is an easy listening ballad with some interesting atmospherics on the edges.  It's a welcome change of pace that's melodically solid even if it seems a bit out-of-synch with the rest of the material on Believe.  "Ava" is a brilliant bit of songcraft; a song of regret with guitar work eerily reminiscent of Brian May.  There's an urgent feel to the song that's more subtle than it at first seems, and the melody is a keeper.  "Time To Let Go" is a melodic and driven song of sorrow and condolence with a vow of vengeance thrown in for good measure.  The song is stark in its combination of understanding, love and brutality and is equally moving and disturbing.  "Sorrow Girl" follows in a similar vein musically, throwing in outstanding vocal harmonies to buttress the melody line.  Guitar players out there will enjoy the breakdown, as Eric Rothenheber gets up to some serious six-string hijinx.  "End Of Our World" is a great album track, and would have been a great closing track under circumstances.  The guitar style and overall flow of the song might remind you of Glen Burtnik if you happen to be familiar with his music.  SPiN closes with a cover of The Zombies' "Time Of The Season", a reverent interpretation that is surprising and appealing.

SPiN always seem to come up with a bit of magic.  Believe is no exception, but this time SPiN has refined their songwriting and sound.  It's a commercial sound that doesn't scream sell out, but seems a natural progression from the past two albums (with perhaps a leap of faith thrown in).  The same edgy songwriting tendencies are there underneath, they've just been processed by time and lots of shows played together.  SPiN have chemistry as a band, and that connection shines through even on CD.  Success in music is always as dependent on luck as it is on talent (sometimes more so), but there's no doubting that SPiN is ready for prime time.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about SPiN at or  Believe is available digitally from and iTunes.

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