Spygenius and Onward Chariots

Spygenius “The Comforting Suture”
Spygenius is one of those quirky bands that shifts style with each album, sometimes you never know what you’ll get. Opening with a surf guitar instrumental it blasts into “Furniture Boats.” Its a quick paced song with jangley guitars, obtuse lyrics and its kinda like Ian Anderson joined REM.

This really gets obvious on “Kevin” which sounds like it fell off REM’s Document No.5 album. The formulaic approach changes on “All My Skeletons” with its memorable chorus, and the double-tracked vocals of “California Sunshine” thrills with its pop hooks. It takes a dark turn from that point, till the beautiful whistling “The Void.” and the bouncingly jovial “K is Mentally Ill.” The band creatively use horns and xylophones throughout its compositions. Loads of fun for everyone.

Onward Chariots “This is My Confession”
Originally these guys were called Chariots of Tuna, but now the band has solidified into a skillful prog-pop art band. The opening is akin to ELP and the title track is an effective thematic rock jam with a nice guitar solo at the end. The fun of “Mel Gibson” is next and asks the question every fan of the actor wants to know, “What Happened? Who guessed Mad Max was really mad?”  After this the album goes into light pop mode.

Some wonderful harmonies and sweet hushed melodies come up on “Sisters and Brothers” similar to 10cc. Lead vocalist Ben Morss has an angelic voice that makes it all work. More highlights include the gentle “Forever Never Ends”  and “You Don’t Have To Be Unhappy.” Sounds to me like a combination of Todd Rundgren and Art Garfunkel. It keeps the listener guessing… is there a rock opera buried in here somewhere? Not everything is fully baked, but amongst the 16 tracks you’ll find some gems that will make your playlist for sure. Update: The band has just been signed by an indie label for a release on January 29th. Pre-release tracks are available now.

Bandcamp only (pre-release special)