The Spanish Armada, The Spanish Armada

The Spanish Armada, The Spanish Armada

The Spanish Armada is a five-piece noise-rock band from Boston. On The Spanish Armada, their debut album, their sound borrows heavily from Sonic Youth, and the singer even sounds a little like Thurston Moore. But they add their own touches, like harmonies and odd time signatures, which they nagivate easily. And some of the more complicated songs are just as catchy as the more straighforward songs, which is also impressive.

One of those songs, “Empty Packs,” has a 7/8 verse with a guitar part that tries to subvert the melody, but the melody is strong and catchy despite the complexity of the guitar riffs to really come through. “Marathon Arms,” a big menacing rocker, is even more mathy, with a 15/8 verse and 13/4 chorus, but remarkably enough, the chorus is anthemic, more so than anything Sonic Youth would do, with driving response harmonies from the band.

Some of the more straightforward songs take things in different directions, too. “Laying Down my Arms” is a short, catchy song with big, pretty harmonies that SY would never thought to use. “Homesick” even features acoustic guitar, violin, and piano. It doesn’t completely work — it’s a bit too straightforward of a song for them to really kill. But it’s an interesting idea.

On the whole, The Spanish Armada is very good for a first album — they have a sound, they’re tight, and they can write good songs. Their only problem is sounding a little too much like Sonic Youth. If they could take things in their own direction, these guys could be a great band. And considering what they presented here, they have the potential to take all of this a lot farther.

(Midriff Records -- 3 Adamson Street, Boston, MA. 02134; http://www.midriffrecords.com/; The Spanish Armada -- http://www.myspace.com/thenewspanisharmada)
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Review by . Review posted Saturday, November 28th, 2009. Filed under Reviews.

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