Spitalfield - Stop Doing Bad Things (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Stop Doing Bad Things (2005)


Spitalfield has gone through a rather jumpy approach to emotional punk-pop / rock in their short though varied discography. In comparison to future material, their debut full-length, Faster Crashes Harder, was slightly sped-up, somewhat raw, and marginally bratty. The followup EP, The Cloak & Dagger Club, suddenly found the band playing a severely matured, heavily Texas Is The Reason-influenced sound. Cut to their Victory debut, 2003's Remember Right Now, and we hear a band taking sort of a step back, influentially-speaking, basking in the more novelty-based, sunny pop that fit well with their more mainstream-oriented peers. So now, with Stop Doing Bad Things, it makes sense for their bi-polar attitudes to again nod towards more original purveyors of their genre, both past and present.

The press release for the record involves the band discussing how "this record is heavily influenced by some of the bands that we've toured with in the past couple years," and their tongues seem pretty hairless about the claim. "Texas Bum Blues," the black sheep of the record in a really good way, has the band using a wavering, Max Bemis/Travis Shettel singing style that makes for a good, quirky rock song á la Piebald, especially with its layered, pseudo-gang shout of the chorus line "if you've got somethin' to say, just say it...!" "Building A Better City By Design" has a sound texture and general feel about it similar to that of Hey Mercedes's Loses Control. Outside of past tour mates, other tracks like "Gold Dust Vs. State Of Illinois" are fiercely reminsicent of the more rock-oriented moments of Jimmy Eat World.

The band's songwriting abilities haven't drastically improved, but they're seemingly just as personable, notably in a song such as "From The Desk Of B. Larsen" with the line "and we're getting good - at passing out in motion (or on strangers' floors)." Not that the band's past lyrical skills were that of unemotional vegetables, but singing along to choruses seems slightly less mindless this time around.

Victory haphazardly slapped the band with the post-hardcore tag with their last effort, and though it still doesn't seem to rightly fit, the band has seemed to inch towards that style a little, though it seems naturally in step with their maturation. In effect, Stop Doing Bad Things acts as a good mix of Spitalfield's more critically-respected peers, and it's spread out amongst a rather consistent set of tunes.

So I Heard You Joined A Convent [clip]
Gold Dust Vs. State Of Illinois [clip]
What Were You Thinking? [clip]
Building A Better City By Design
Simple Minds, Simple Lives