First time I saw Spinto Band I wondered if Ric Ocasek had seen the Strokes on TRL, decided the world needed a more exuberant brand of new wave pep, grabbed six of his children, threw instruments on them, and made them practice until their fingers were sore and Tito had to fetch a switch. They were so tight (the cover of “Just What I Needed” was almost fascist in its perfection), so catchy, and so enthusiastic (looked like they were 16 and had choreographed moves) that I assumed an abusive dad had to be behind it all.
Two years later, you can almost believe all of them are allowed in the bar. They’ve got a debut album, Nice and Nicely Done—on Bar/None, which makes sense, ’cause the singer requests the dBs at DJ nights, and they cover the Motels. It’s not quite as zippy as their shows can be (vocals louder here, drums quieter, understandable urge to “explore” the studio or whatever), but they’ve yet to cross over into the torpor threatened by the comparisons to Pavement, Wilco, and the Flaming Lips that inexplicably grace their promo material. Ultragrrrl-adored “Oh Mandy” is some ’91 David Byrne–Peter Buck collabo the planet’s totally ready for, and they rock kazoos on track two. Dad, if you catch them listening to A Ghost Is Born, get the belt.
Spinto Band play Pianos September 17.