Stimulants & Sedatives


Rad Girlfriend Records, 2020

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A quintet from Denver who offers two to three minute blasts of self-described “Vacation Rock,” Spellss deliver a sophomore record that's as colorful as its artwork. It would be advised to be played loud at any party that's rambunctious enough to warrant the cops being called.

Spells starts the listen with the raging garage rock of “We Can't Relate,” where a massive amount of intensity collides with raw vocals and no shortage of gritty melody. “I'll Never See” follows with anthemic punk rock that's charged with plenty of tuneful racket, and this continues to the thundering and rowdy “Nose Dive,” as well as the frantic dual gender vocals of the buzzing “Reduction In Force.”my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Oddly enough, there's no A and B side here. One is dubbed the “stimulant” side and it's easy to see why with its unrelenting energy. The other side is the “sedative” portion and it's slightly more tame, but still with plenty of punch, melody, and fist-pumping tunes.

“We've Arrived” starts the “sedative” half with sing-alongs, some scrappy pop influences and a bouncy spirit, and “Sick & Tired (Of Being Sick & Tired)” follows with soaring vocal harmonies in a very rhythmic version of punk.

The record comes to a close with the busy, pounding “West Of Syracuse,” while the soulful backing vocals of “Break Out” contrasts well with the hectic, powerful setting of the late album highlight. “I'm Sorry I'm Not Sorry” exits the listen with head bobbin' and toe tappin' fun that's punk, garage rock and rock'n'roll in one highly memorable finish.

Although Spells may not take themselves too seriously, this is seriously great music for the punk rock inclined. Imagine Off With Their Heads on lithium, soundtracking Weekend At Bernie's, and put it on colored wax and with a download card included. Had I heard this record in 2020, it would have easily been right at the top of my year end list.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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