Spite is the first full-length from North Carolina punk by way of Ď90s alt rock act Old Flings. I saw this album for sale at the Fest flea market back in October of last year and had heard it was good, but I felt like I needed beer money more than another record to try and fit in my carry-on to take home, so I did not buy it. What a stupid mistake.
Weíve had a ton of bands like this pop up in the scene recently, but Iím convinced that nobody has truly perfected it like Old Flings. Spite is 11 tracks of rip-roaring jams that make any place turn into the back porch outside of a house show. Itís weird. I can smell the drunkenly-bummed cigarette in my left hand and taste the beer in the solo cup any time I put the album on the turntable. Thereís something about this album that just feels that way. Maybe itís the vibe they want, or maybe itís not. Regardless, itís what I get from it and itís not a bad thing at all.
Sonically, itís a pretty rockiní album. Itís got catchy hooks and riffs for days and youíre going to wake up at some point humming ďMerry Go Round.Ē Itís going to happen. The vocals sound rich and at some points bring out a Morrissey-esque feel to them (ďStudded JacketsĒ and ďCouch SongĒ immediately come to mind). The rest of it reeks of Ď90s alt-rock and is a well-traveled trip down memory lane. While this isnít for everyone, it has a charm to it far beyond the one sort of stylistic trait that Iíve put it in.
From a lyrical standpoint, this is one of the better break-up albums Iíve listened to and let me tell you, Iíve listened to a lot. ďGripĒ is definitely one of the best long-distance relationship songs that would go perfectly on a mixtape when your girlfriend is about to go off to school at some fancy-pants university and youíre still stuck in wherever with your mediocre job. The title track and closer, ďSpite,Ē is the pure extract of bitterness from the end of a relationship. Itís sickeningly good.
I finally got the LP in a Black Friday sale, and while I wouldnít normally get into LP packaging, letís go into it, shall we? The cover art is awesome with the old love notes all around and those are faithfully reprinted on the album labels. Inside was a very nice note from Bitter Melody for supporting their first full-length LP release. Not a ton of labels do this, but itís always nice to get something like this and you canít help but like a fledgling label thatís dedicated to its supporters.
In conclusion, Spite is one of the best albums of 2012. While Iím realizing it a little bit late, it is an album thatís holding a pretty special place in my heart. Itís an original take on a tried and true formula that makes other bands in the genre look plain in comparison. All of that, combined with the fact that this is only their debut, makes Old Flings an exciting band to watch in the future.