Spraydog, Karate Summer Camp
The quintet Spraydog, comprising of Steve Robson (vocals, guitar), Maria Fontana (vocals), Phil Tyler (guitar), Cath Tyler (bass), and Chris Lanigan (drums), hail from across the pond, specifically Newcastle, to drop their new quirkily-titled album, Karate Summer Camp, upon our Yankee shores. With eleven albums under their belt, you’d think they’d be musical pros, but that’s not necessarily the case. When you think of Spraydog, not just one sound or style comes to mind — the band channels from Sonic Youth’s punk drone amidst disorganization, The Pixies’ sluggish guy/girl vocals, and My Bloody Valentine’s heedless indifference, but Spraydog doesn’t display any distinct musical style. The band sounds like a sped up version of indie New Yorkers La Pieta, whose sound works for them, but their musical recipe spells inevitable disaster for Spraydog. Their schizophrenic melding of different bands is illogical, confusing, and uncreative.
The one and only highlight track of the album is “One Big So-So,” where Marie’s vocals sound a bit like those of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The instrumentation and vocals equal each other in energetic velocity, which makes for a precious lo-fi gem in a pile of relatively nothing. Despite their borrowing, it seems they can’t develop a style all their own. Their drone is boring and predictable, their vocals are lethargic and discordant, and their indifference is anything but different — but perhaps that’s part of the charm? You decide.