Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spy Versus Spy - Little Lights and Various


Waiting for Centralia to Sink
Best Man Nomination
Red Cars Go Faster
Game Ruiner

I’ll be honest, I ripped this record a long time ago. Pre-torrent and mediafire days, but post Napster. Anyone remember Kazaa? Audiogalaxy? Damn, you could find just about anything between those two sites. Audiogalaxy had some of the rarest stuff you could find on the internet. And with the little known post-hardcore outfit from Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom, it was the only way I was able to get a copy of the excellent Little Lights. Knowing how difficult it was to find Spy Versus Spy material I’ve carried that same rip with me for over a decade now. Regulars who’ve read my Strikeforce Diabo or Twelve Hour Turn posts know how much I dig the oft-mocked math-rock/screamo/hardcore genres. The now defunct Spy Versus Spy are one of the best at combining all of that late, Fugazi-influenced rock.

The daunting, terrific “Waiting for Centralia to Sink” is Little Light’s first track, a nearly 9-minute long epic jam I can still put on repeat to this day. Its three-minute long breakdown, so prevalent to all those late and great 90’s emo outfits, is its highlight -- a groove so fucking slick they make it sound easy as they glide along in 6/4 time. “Red Cars Go Faster” hits full force with an off-kilter drum beat while the guitars dual start/stop melodies to perfection, reminding me of some of the best Hot Water Music material from the mid-90’s. “Best Man Nomination” is consistently erratic, doubling its speed, stopping and starting on a dime, mixing screams and howls with whispers and soft vocals. I was able to grab a few tracks not included on Little Lights, (“Game Ruiner”, “Union Station Still”, “Rich Girls’ Mistletoe”) which follow the same unique formula Spy Versus Spy patented.

I know this isn’t for everyone, but these dudes created some of the best screamo/post-hardcore we’re ever going to hear, and it’s a shame they never garnered the success that some of their counterparts (Braid, Hot Water Music) have.

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