I Am Spoonbender - Shown Actual Size (Cover Artwork)

I Am Spoonbender

Shown Actual Size (2002)

Gold Standard Laboratories

I was pretty psyched to find this in my mailbox, as I happen to know for a fact that Robynn Itawa (bass player from the late Canadian all-female power pop band Cub, of whom I was a pretty big fan) is in this group, and I was curious as to what she was up to these days. I was surprised, to say the least. Whereas Lisa Marr (another ex-Cub member) made the obvious move of teaming up with Muffs vocalist Kim Shattuck to form the Beards, a power pop/punk/indie rock band (who is quite good, you should track them down), it would appear Ms. Itawa is taking a somewhat drastic leap away from the guitar/bass/drums pop punk thing, and is instead producing this.

I Am Spoonbender is an electronic band, that I can say for sure. The only musical instruments present on this EP seem to be keyboards, synthesizers, and drum machines. But their songs offer something more tangeable than the standard "let's write a two measure instrumental hook and loop it for ten minutes" techno which is poisoning the youth today. No, these songs are definately... um... christ, what the hell IS this? You'll have to forgive me, I listen to almost no electronic music, so the only comparisons I can make to this would be Devo or Gary Neuman, and while it would be difficult to deny that both of those two have influenced Spoonbender quite heavily, I think it would be unfair to say that this necessarily sounds like either of them. Sure, the structure is similar, and yes, these are definately pop/rock songs constructed of vocals over layered synthesizers and keyboards, I Am Spoonbender has gone a long way in updating the sound to fit their time, as this doesn't sound like anything that would have come out of the 70's or 80's. This is definately music for right now. Imagine if the Polysics were less goofy and a lot more straightforward.

Am I even making sense here? What a difficult review to have to write, lemme tell ya.

Did I mention the sublimely erotic CD cover?

Well anyhow, I don't know what else to say about this except that I think it's really good. Robynn's vocals add a great irredescent quality to this already strange music, which is tight (one of the perks of using programmable synthesizers, I guess) and very catchy, though not annoyingly so like a lot of electronic pop music. It's like, if most electronic pop music are Skittles, this is a Pearson's Salted Nut Roll. You follow? Or am I completely out of my mind? Or both? I know that no one on this site's even gonna read this far into this review since I haven't mentioned Bad Religion or AFI yet, so I guess I'll just cut to the chase:

I think this EP is really cool and I reccomend it to anyone looking for something different. If you're still suspicious, the band has mp3s (and videos, huzzah!) on their website (linked below). I suggest you stop by and give them a listen for yourself. As for me, well, those candy analogies made me hingry, so I think I'm leaving now. Don't forget to lock the door on your way out.