When Ginna Rhodes and Ben Marsden from The Main Grains announced they would be forming a little punk rock outfit with The Idol Dead frontman Polly, I don’t think anyone expected too much to come from it. When they subsequently announced a Pledge-funded album and recording sessions with the one and only Dave Draper (Ginger, Ryan Hamilton etc) ears pricked up…maybe they were serious after all. And left to their own devices, it’s amazing what these three have conjured up.
We all pledged without hearing a single note. Why would we put our faith in these 3 loveable Northern herberts? Your guess is as good as mine, but now it’s time to see if The Spangles can deliver.
Ok, first things first. Let’s try to establish a few facts; this is a covers album right? I mean, I seem to know all these tunes already, so it must be. These choruses are already embedded in my DNA it seems, how is that possible?
So if it’s not a covers album, I wanna know how they managed to distill everything I love about the rock n’ roll world into 12 songs? In just under 30 minutes, you’ll hear nods to more 70’s punk and 90’s Britrock legends than you can shake a stick at.
This album is so new I don’t have any info on it, who knows who wrote these glorious slabs of punked-up power pop, and I can only hazard a guess as to who sings what. While Polly is playing bass, Ginna and Ben stick to what they do best and I think the lead vocals are shared out between all three by the sound of it.
Opener ‘Growing Up’ starts strong, like The Yo-Yos jamming with Sorry and the Sinatras, a great chorus but it’s just a taster of what’s to come. The following ‘The Only One’ is surely the greatest song Rivers Cuomo never wrote and the essence of what this band is capable of. A wall of riffage and a chorus so upbeat it will give instant goosebumps and put a smile on the face of the grumpiest fucker in town. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it in your life.
Powerful, punk-pop goodness follows with ‘One Good Reason’ and ‘Dirty Pictures’, The Spangles do trashy so well. ‘POTUS’ is dumb-ass punk rock, ‘Here We Go Again’ is The Soho Roses and album closer ‘Ramone’ is a burst of fury with a glorious gang vocal refrain that name-checks as many Ramones songs as possible. I name these three songs now, as these are the average songs on the album, and by ‘average’, I mean in the context of this album. As the songs on this album are of a very high standard indeed.
‘Back On The Meds Again’, with its ‘Nita Nitro’ intro, comes on like a classic Wildhearts B side and we all know what a good place that is to be, right? A snotty verse leads to another killer, gang vocal chorus backed by a wall of fat guitars.
‘I Don’t Wanna Go’ sounds like The Buzzcocks meets The Soho Roses. An instant sugar buzz with a euphoric chorus most bands could only dream of. You’ll be singing along to those “whoa-whoa” vocals and the following chorus again and again, believe me.
‘Get Over Yourself’ again, has a massive chorus. With its indie beats and killer riff, it comes on like classic Terrorvision. This song could be a dancefloor filler in rock clubs across the country, make no mistake.
But it’s ‘Hold My Hand’ that is in contention for song of the year. Damn this is sublime power pop. It’s Weezer meets Redd Kross meets Silver Sun. It’s up there man, more infectious than Herpes and twice as fun. On a par with The Interrupters ‘She’s Kerosene’ for song of the year for me.
Not officially released until February, ‘#Sweet AF’ is already a strong contender for next year’s album of the year lists. And considering we have highly anticipated albums from The Wildhearts and Michael Monroe to look forward to, they are in good company.
The surprise, feel-good album of the year with more potential hits than any band should be allowed to possess. They may have started with sweet fuck all, but their debut album is sweet as fuck! Is it too soon to suggest The Spangles could be your new favourite band?
Author: Ben Hughes