SPYGENIUS (Canterbury / South London, UK)
SPYGENIUS, Canterbury's premiere purveyors of pop-psych and postpunk madness, make a rapid return in 2022 with a new album, JOBBERNOWL, hot on the heels of their tribute collection SPYGENIUS BLOW THEIR COVERS and their acclaimed, ambitious 2020 double LP MAN ON THE SEA (Album of the Year, HERE COMES THE FLOOD). JOBBERNOWL is a heady brew, fusing the emotive heft of Man On The Sea with the freewheeling spirit of the covers collection. It's built on themes of bereavement and grief, as befits a collection addressing the losses of the pandemic years. But it's also groovy, witty, and resplendent with the love of language, hooks and harmonies alike that have made SPYGENIUS the singular entity that they are on the global pop scene... and it's compelling evidence of a creative streak that shows no sign of letting up.
SPYGENIUS frontman and songwriter Peter Watts got his start in the 80s as the lead singer with the Murrumbidgee Whalers, whose jangle-pop classic "Giving Way to Trains" has recently been re-released on the Cherry Red C88 compilation. The 21st century saw the Watts moving on to create Spygenius, a classic British four piece pop-combo based in Canterbury and South London, who have built upon and extended that musical legacy. Ruth Rogers (bass), Matt Byrne (keys) and Alan Cannings (drums) complete the line-up - and everybody sings. Their music has echoes of all those classic 60s ‘B’ bands – Beatles, Byrds, Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, Bonzos. But it equally resonates with college-radio darlings of later generations like XTC, The Smiths, Robyn Hitchcock, R.E.M. There’s a lot of musical bric-a-brac in there too – souvenirs from surf and psych, folk and exotica, lounge and blues, rock and roll. The songs are carefully crafted: memorable melodies, heavenly harmonies, gorgeous guitars, perfect percussion, bitchin’ bass and kinky keyboards abound.
Man On The Sea, the band's double-LP fifth album for 2020, was at once a summation and retrenching for Spygenius , with Blow Their Covers serving as a delightful palate cleanser clearing the way for Jabbernowl. Each record in the band's canon -- the new one is their seventh since their 2008 foundation -- has been noted for blending sophisticated melodies and harmonies with complex lyrics, as intelligent as they are emotionally charged: sometimes witty, sometimes painful, sometimes insightful, sometimes just nonsensical – always delightful and engaging. They've been with Big Stir Records since the label's earliest days and the US reissue of their watershed release 'Pacéphale. The band is also noted for their visual collaborations with artist and honorary fifth Spygenius, Champniss of London, which has resulted in a book and a number of animated music videos which perfectly encapsulate the surreal whimsy of their music.
The new double LP from SPYGENIUS in a lavishly illustrated gatefold package.
- Another True Story
- If You Go A-Roving
- Salaud Days
- Cafe Emery Hill
- Dolphinarium 1986
- New Street
- Man Overboard
- Green Eyed Monster
- In A Garden
- Don't Blame It On Your Mother
- Midnight Bandola
- Watch Your Back
- Remember Me When I Was Good
The new double-length album from SPYGENIUS in a lavishly illustrated single CD package,
- Another True Story
- If You Go A-Roving
- Salaud Days
- Cafe Emery Hill
- Dolphinarium 1986
- New Street
- Man Overboard
- Green Eyed Monster
- In A Garden
- Don't Blame It On Your Mother
- Midnight Bandola
- Watch Your Back
- Remember Me When I Was Good
TRACK LIST: 1. Shall I Show You in My Mirror? 2. Back Door Son of Man 3. Heathen 4. The Friendly Stars That Glow 5. (Rock and Roll Is An) Old Man's Game 6. Eucalyptus and Cigarettes 7. Get over Yourself! 8. You and Me and Jiminy C 9. Godfearing 10. S.O.B. 11. Solness 12. Ill Fitting Suit 13. And Her Snakes Were Decked with Smiles
Opus three from Spygenius HQ, and it’s “loads of fun for everyone” (Powerpopaholic). This disc offers a shedload of fan faves including ‘California Sunshine’ (which is about growing up in South London, bizarrely…), Autoclave (check out the cool animated video!) and the Spygenius version of the Murrumbidgee Whalers’ classic ‘Giving Way to Trains’.
- Spygenius 65
- Furniture Boats
- Here We Go Again
- All My Skeletons
- California Sunshine
- A Room, Full of Telephones
- Hegemon boldly combats the forces of chaos and insurrection: the outcome remains uncertain...
- The Void
- Giving Way to Trains
- K Is Mentally Ill
The sophomore platter from Spygenius, which the guys at Not Lame described as “hypnotic, intoxicating and wonderfully disconnected … Very Highly Recommended”. They also said that “Spygenius come from a committed creative space few artists have the disposition, balls and gumption to explore”, which was nice of them! The album features frequent live set opener ‘Digdens Rise’, Spygenius signature pop tune, ‘The Girl Who’s Everywhere’, and the slightly bewildering ‘First Do No Harm’.
- Didgen's Rise
- Smardy's Fish Paradise
- The Ballad of Jack Snipe
- This Morning After
- Matter Out of Place
- First Do No Harm
- You've Got a Lucky Face
- Don't Sing to Me of Medicine When You're the Disease
- The Girl Who's Everywhere
Songs From the Devil’s Typist: Spygenius’s debut offering, described by Powerpopaholic as “an outstanding album that is sure to hook you in and keep you humming”. Highlights include perennial live favourites/albatrosses (delete as required) ‘Pineapple Drive’ and ‘The Ballad of Dr T F Bundy and his Hirsute Sweetheart’, and (from the ridiculous to the sublime) the haunting ’13 Years (May Song)’.
- Dumb Angels
- The Balld of Dr T F Bundy & his Hirsute Sweetheart
- I Want That Girl
- Pineapple Drive
- 13 Years (May Song)
- A Bottle of Reds & Two Good Friends
- C;losest Thing to heaven
- This Heart was Truer Than You Cared to Believe
- Winteregarden Summertime
- Coneybeare's Island
- Mr Misdirected Woo
BIG STIR RECORDS and SPYGENIUS are delighted to announce the June 24 release of JOBBERNOWL – a brand new album from the celebrated Canterbury, England masters of literate psych-inflected pop rock – on CD and all digital platforms. The record featuring 11 new originals including the lead single/focus track “Son Of The Morning, Go Man Go!” is up for
BIG STIR RECORDS and SPYGENIUS are delighted to announce the June 24 release of JOBBERNOWL – a brand new album from the celebrated Canterbury, England masters of literate psych-inflected pop rock – on CD and all digital platforms. The record featuring 11 new originals including the lead single/focus track “Son Of The Morning, Go Man Go!” is up for pre-order at www.bigstirrecords.com now, and will be on record store shelves and streaming worldwide on the street date. The band's seventh album, JOBBERNOWL follows the acclaimed and ambitious 2020 double LP MAN ON THE SEA and 2021 tribute collection SPYGENIUS BLOW THEIR COVERS, fusing the emotive heft of the former with the rollicking energy of the latter into a visceral but sophisticated set, framed by the combination of wit, hooks and harmony that define SPYGENIUS. “It's mostly about bereavement, you know. That and epistemology,” says singer, guitarist and chief songwriter PETER WATTS. But if that suggests that JOBBERNOWL is a continuation of the absorbing moodiness of Man On The Sea, it takes little more than hitting “play” to reveal that this album is involving in a very different way. The punning title of lead track “I Dig Your Your New Robes, Pierre!” gives the game away, and the groove that comes blasting out of the speakers – anchored by a tasty retro organ groove from keyboard player MATT BYRNE and propelled forward by the rhythm section of drummer ALAN CANNINGS and bassist RUTH ROGERS – is positively ebullient and even danceable. The surreally bluesy rocker “Sky Pie, Century 21” follows and keeps feet moving even as Watts unspools what must be the most erudite set of lyrics ever to start with the words “Now daddio, you gotta listen!” SPYGENIUS may be grappling with the tough stuff, but they're here to rock, not mope, and the tension kicks the record into high gear from the get-go.
There's a sense that the band had hoped to continue the loose and (for lack of a better word) “fun” vibe of the covers album, but the tenor of the COVID-era times and a number of deep personal losses wouldn't allow it. Instead they weave the approaches of the previous two records together and manage the staggeringly cathartic feat of being playful in confronting grief and befuddling trying times. You can hear the album's exhilarating collision between the introspective and the effervescent captured in full on the single “Son Of The Morning, Go Man Go!” It hums with touches of the '80s college rock sounds and vintage '60s psych alike, alternately breezy and sinister 12-string jangle and pristine harmonies, and an effortless progression from its beautifully airy opening to darker, urgently galloping passages and an anthemic climax worthy of The Who. And yet it flows, its radio-ready sheen and supple melodies belying its darker undercurrents. That's JOBBERNOWL in a nutshell, to the extent that the record's carefully orchestrated contradictions can be contained.
Spygenius may bristle at being called “clever,” but one need only scan the song titles here to confirm that their reputation for reveling in the sheer joy of language is in full bloom. Beyond “Pierre!” wordplay abounds on the liltingly sly political satire “Mandy Rice-Davies Applies,” “The Marvellous, Mendacious Time Machine” (a Nuggets-evoking swirl that's at once retro and anti-nostalgia) and the closing, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band-inspired “Foucault Swings Like A Pendulum Do”. Each drips with droll and very British wit. This is truly a record which, while teasing the ears with instantly memorable hooks, will send listeners to the lyric sheet and Watts' song notes to make sure the've heard what they thought they heard... only to discover even more buried references, linguistic gymnastics, and rewarding conceptual easter eggs. Humor is the weapon of choice in combatting heartbreak here, and Jobbernowl is as genuinely funny as it is sonically enthralling.
There is no mistaking the fact that the band is tackling the macro- and microcosmic cataclysms of the past two years head-on – the brooding “2020 Revision” is but the most explicit expression of loss and befuddlement. But there's glee in the way Spygenius convert it all into song, and Watts goes so far as to drop the exhortation “Hark, hark let’s have a lark!” into the Revolver-meets-The Velvets rumination “Metamorphosis” amongst near-apocalyptic imagery of insect overlords, virgin vermin and behemoth butterflies. There's room along the way for “Screwy” – a bouncy mashup between Motown, Kirsty MacColl and Ringo Starr written and sung by bassist Rogers – and the gorgeous 6/8 sway of the culturally contemplative “All That Is Solid Melts Into Air”. The themes come together in the way the penultimate track (the stately, mournful “Of Narcissus”, one of several meditations on mortality occasioned by the sudden passing of a dear friend of the band) dovetails into the unapologetic goofiness of the closer.
“It’s also about overcoming, about carrying what you can of those you’ve lost with you,” says Watts. “And about how if darkness is the shore of life, then silence is the shore of music, of human music, the music you must dance to when your limbs are numb and twisted with grief.” He's speaking of one track, but it may sum up all of JOBBERNOWL. Visually bedecked as always in the distinctive design work of the inimitable and enigmatic CHAMPNISS, the latest dispatch from SPYGENIUS may be a more beautiful commentary on the state of the world today than that world deserves. But it's also a source of solace, a thrilling ride, and another jewel in the crown of Canterbury's kings (and queen) of musical mayhem. Big Stir is honored to bring it to you.
BIG STIR RECORDS and Canterbury, England's SPYGENIUS are delighted to end the year and usher in the holidays with an epic act of heartfelt musical re-gifting. SPYGENIUS BLOW THEIR COVERS, and all-new album of reimagined versions of some of the band's favorite vintage (and modern) tunes, is out on CD and all digital platforms November 26 (Black
BIG STIR RECORDS and Canterbury, England's SPYGENIUS are delighted to end the year and usher in the holidays with an epic act of heartfelt musical re-gifting. SPYGENIUS BLOW THEIR COVERS, and all-new album of reimagined versions of some of the band's favorite vintage (and modern) tunes, is out on CD and all digital platforms November 26 (Black Friday) and up for pre-order at www.bigstirrecords.com and everwhere now. It's heralded by the single “Queen Of Eyes”, a gorgeous version of the SOFT BOYS classic that nonetheless only hints at what's under the wrapping paper of SPYGENIUS BLOW THEIR COVERS.
It would be an understatement to say that SPYGENIUS as a band are riding high despite the times, with their ambitious 2020 double album MAN ON THE SEA having been declared Album of the Year at HERE COMES THE FLOOD among many other accolades. The new record is something completely different, albeit sparkling with the same heady psych-pop guitars, intricate keys and distinct harmonies that've defined the band since their inception. Here they've taken a break from crafting their own original tunes to pay tribute to their influences and even their contemporaries, and tackled an eclectic and revelatory set of covers. The chosen tunes span the full continuum of the pop-rock era, giving us a peek into their own musical influences but most importantly serving up a set that's just as sly, textured, and fun as anything the Canterbury foursome has ever recorded.
Kicking off with a medley of songs by Traffic and The Monkees, SPYGENIUS BLOW THEIR COVERS packs 14 tunes into 13 tracks. There are of course nods to the band's primary roots in the British and US '60s scene, with ace takes on Gene Clark's “So You Say You Lost Your Baby”, Buffalo Springfield's “Rock 'N' Roll Woman,” the Paul McCartney-penned “Step Inside Love” (a UK hit for Cilla Black) and yet another Monkees tune (“For Pete's Sake”). There are – perhaps unsurprisingly given the band's reputation for cheeky wit – obscure curveballs like “Griselda,” originally recorded by Michael Hurley and The Unholy Modal Rounders, and the sea shanty “Murrumbidgee Whalers”, a tune from which frontman Peter Watts' pre-Spygenius '80s band took their name and which figured subliminally in the interstitial soundscapes dotting Man On The Sea.
Tributes to the continuing heritage of literate pop-rock in the post-punk era appear as well, in the form of a cover of Squeeze's “Is That Love” and the riotously unhinged version of Madness's “Michael Caine” that closes the album. Closest to the band's heart is the Soft Boys cover, which Spygenius wear like a second skin. “You could certainly make the case that The Soft Boys, Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians were undeniable ‘touch point’ groups for Spygenius,” explains Watts, “but this song is here because of the burgeoning friendship between Spygenius and (Soft Boys bassist) Matthew Seligman that was so cruelly cut short by his passing early in the COVID-19 pandemic. We miss him very deeply. Whenever he would come to visit we would laugh so much…”
Also emblematic of the community-minded ethos of the group, and their view that rock and roll is anything but a retro pursuit, are their versions of tunes by two of their contemporary bands. It's certainly to be hoped that the exuberant romp through “Please Stop Talking” by fellow Brits Kelly's Heels will inspire listeners to seek out the original, which shines here as a terrific jangling rocker. And their complete reimagining of a song by BSR labelmates Plasticsoul -- “Therapy,” the title track to the California band's last album – transforms the freakbeat-tinged rocker into a shimmering, dreamy waltz that moved the tune's writer, Steven Wilson, to tears upon first listen.
“Along with the rest of the world, normal operations for Project Spygenius ground to an undignified halt in 2020,” explains Watts of the record's pandemic-era gestation, “so, to keep ourselves ticking over, we decided to do something we don’t normally do – try our hands at a bunch of covers… and not just any covers… covers that said something about Spygenius.” SPYGENIUS BLOW THEIR COVERS emerges as a great deal more than a bit of fun – although that it most certainly is – and far from an exercise in nostalgia. Watts, along with bassist Ruth Rogers, keyboard wizard Matt Byrne and drummer Alan Cannings (all of whom combine for the band's signature jaw-dropping harmonies) have fashioned a love letter to both the music that inspires them and the impetus to keep creating, challenging themselves, and giving back to those who have supported them along the way. It is as wonderful and sincere a gift as Big Stir Records could hope to give at the end of yet another challenging year, and a promise of more to come from SPYGENIUS.
Come On Home 2:220:00/2:22
Is That Love 2:350:00/2:35
Please Stop Talking 3:520:00/3:52
For Pete's Sake 2:100:00/2:10
Murrumbidgee Whalers 3:350:00/3:35
Queen Of Eyes 2:030:00/2:03
Step Inside Love 2:400:00/2:40
Rock 'N' Roll Woman 2:500:00/2:50
Michael Caine 4:200:00/4:20
Man On The Sea
Double Vinyl LP Download
Canterbury, England's SPYGENIUS returns with a new double album, MAN ON THE SEA, to be released July 10 on Big Stir Records as a two-vinyl-LP gatefold set, double-length CD, and digital download. It's available for pre-order at www.bigstirrecords.com/store and at most online retailers now. Featuring 17 brand new tracks and lavish design work from
Canterbury, England's SPYGENIUS returns with a new double album, MAN ON THE SEA, to be released July 10 on Big Stir Records as a two-vinyl-LP gatefold set, double-length CD, and digital download. It's available for pre-order at www.bigstirrecords.com/store and at most online retailers now. Featuring 17 brand new tracks and lavish design work from the group's visual arts collaborator Joseph Champniss, the album showcases one of Britain's finest purveyors of literate psychedelic pop at the height of their melodic and genre-defying powers.
The ambitious new recording is at once sprawling and focused, dazzling and intimate, and continues exploring the themes of their previous album 'Pacéphale. The four sides are balanced between the intricate, sparkling, harmony-adorned jangle-pop for which the band is renowned and more contemplative explorations of loss and middle-aged regret, often expressed in the nautical imagery suggested by the collection's title. Befitting a band whose roots tap deeply into both the folk-psych sixties and the heyday of '80s college rock, Man On The Sea can be heard as Quadrophenia-by-way-of-Automatic For The People, with its stylistic diversions adding up to a questioning but ultimately exhilarating whole.
Man On The Sea is the fifth album from Spygenius, whose lineup – singer/guitarist/chief songwriter PETER WATTS, bassist/vocalist RUTH ROGERS, keyboardist/vocalist MATT BYRNE and drummer/vocalist ALAN CANNINGS – has developed an unmistakable vocal and instrumental chemistry since their 2008 debut and through near-constant gigging and touring in the UK and abroad. Their watershed 2017 album 'Pacéphale (released internationally by Big Stir Records) inaugurated the band's close partnership with visual artist and animator Champniss, whose strikingly whimsical videos and illustrations, combined with the record's sophisticated and beguiling songcraft, gained the band a wider global audience and set the stage for the new record's kaleidoscopic sweep.
Preceded by a trio of wry but musically exuberant singles – “Another True Story”, “If You Go A-Roving”, and the Rogers-penned-and-sung “Spite”, all bracingly immediate jangle-rock gems that received strong international airplay and reviews – Man On The Sea contains much that will scratch the same itch for expectant listeners. The lilting “Café Emery Hill”, the spritely-but-cautious “Salaud Days”, and the Beatles-esque “Watch Your Back” are all cut from the same cloth of catchy and very British pop perfection. They are, however, part of a deeper dive into troubled waters: the urgent drive of postpunk raveups like the R.E.M.-tinged “New Street”, the driving “In A Garden” and the genuinely harrowing “Don't Blame It On Your Mother” practically writhe with nervous energy.
The album's more reflective tunes likewise veer between the disquieting (the darkly humorous “Man Overboard” and the howling “Green Eyed Monster”) and the tentatively redemptive. The conciliatory likes of “Midnight Bandola” and the closing “Remember Me When I Was Good”, a pair of melancholy shuffles, offer the solace of a good drink with an old friend and a cautious celebration of “all the stuff that makes life worth the bother” respectively. Elsewhere jazz, dark folk, and delicately building psychedelia inform “Albion”, “Dolphinarium 1986” and “Windy” in turn, with all of them hinting at the yearning that's perhaps most palpable on the lush “Tomorrowland”: nostalgia for a future that never quite came to be.
That the seafaring voyage of Man On The Sea spans not only oceans, but decades as well, is no accident. “The Spygenius project has always been about not only writing new material, but also about realising quite a substantial back catalogue of tunes amassed over the years,” explains Watts. “I’ve actually found this quite fruitful artistically, because it creates a sort of de facto conversation between my older and younger selves, which is existentially revealing.”
It's thus that tunes dating back to Peter's early days in the appropriately-named Murrumbidgee Whalers (and songs ruminating on earlier times still) rub shoulders with the kind of arch commentary that could only reflect the grim realities of post-Brexit England, or the complicated grief of the passing of his mother on the closing “Remember Me”. “For me it’s almost era defining,” Watts offers. “Some of the songs were from before, everything else now on is from after, which is as yet largely uncharted waters… back to the ocean references.”
In its themes and by synthesizing the band's influences into a coherent amalgam of the exuberant, the urgent, and the bittersweet, Man On The Sea is at once a summation and a clearing of the deck for Spygenius. And as always, there's ample musical playfulness leavening the depths and darkness of the crossing. One can only marvel at the sturdiness and grace of the Good Ship Spygenius as she navigates these most treacherous of waters... long may she sail.
Another True Story 4:550:00/4:55
If You Go A-Roving 3:170:00/3:17
Salaud Days 3:530:00/3:53
Café Emery Hill 4:520:00/4:52
Dolphinarium 1986 3:390:00/3:39
New Street 3:440:00/3:44
Man Overboard 7:430:00/7:43
Green Eyed Monster 6:470:00/6:47
In A Garden 4:130:00/4:13
Midnight Bandola 5:010:00/5:01
Watch Your Bacl 3:510:00/3:51
If You Go A-Roving (Big Stir Digital Single No. 13)
The Lucky 13th BIG STIR DIGITAL SINGLE belongs to Big Stir Britannia's leading lights and one of our favo(u)rite bands anywhere, the one and only SPYGENIUS of Canterbury, England! Sporting brand new and characteristically brilliant cover art from their enigmatic visual collaborator CHAMPNISS OF LONDON, "If You Go A-Roving" b/w "Let Me In" will see
The Lucky 13th BIG STIR DIGITAL SINGLE belongs to Big Stir Britannia's leading lights and one of our favo(u)rite bands anywhere, the one and only SPYGENIUS of Canterbury, England! Sporting brand new and characteristically brilliant cover art from their enigmatic visual collaborator CHAMPNISS OF LONDON, "If You Go A-Roving" b/w "Let Me In" will see release Friday, 19 January and is available now for preorder!
Shortly after unleashing their acclaimed fourth album ‘Pacéphale to an unsuspecting world, SPYGENIUS (Peter, Ruth, Alan and Matt, as ever) retired to their musical shed somewhere in the south east of England to begin work on the follow up, given the intriguing provisional title of ‘Spygenius Album #5’. These two tracks come from those still ongoing sessions. The A side – "If You Go A-Roving" – explores what happens if you stick a melody loosely influenced by English folk music on top of a jangle pop backing (and features on the latest International Pop Overthrow compilation). The B side – "Let Me In" – is a monster themed bit of funky old nonsense that the Spygeniants knocked together for Christina and Rex’s Hallowen Specials on their recently concluded radio programme, but hasn’t seen a formal release before. It was supposed to sound like the Hoodoo Gurus, but it doesn’t, really.
Definitely at the ‘and more’ end of the ‘power pop and more’ spectrum, Spygenius formed in the mid-2000s with the aim of writing, recording and performing original songs for as long as they could get away with it. Classic melodic pop is their baseline, but they are known for their cheeky eclecticism and will often embellish or deviate from their basic live line-up of guitar, bass, drums, keys and four vocals in their recordings. So, catchy tunes, lyrics to listen to, lush harmonies - think Beatles 66-68, think Byrds, think Buffalo Springfield and Bonzo Dog Band – but just as much think Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Robyn Hitchcock, Rain Parade, early R.E.M., and XTC (shhh, don’t tell Ruth!). Then stop thinking that and listen to the tracks instead.
As well as regular gigging around the UK, they are veterans of the International Pop Overthrow festivals - in Liverpool, London and occasionally Los Angeles – and for the last couple of years have taken a central role in organising the BIG STIR BRITANNIA events in Croydon the U.K. Spygenius Album #5 is slated for release later in 2019, on Big Stir Records – and in the meantime all four previous releases can be found on the Big Stir Records website alongside the new single.
Spite (Big Stir Digital Single No. 70)
The time has come for Big Stir Records to begin paving the way for the forthcoming album from Canterbury, England's SPYGENIUS, and we can only do so with “Spite” – that's the A-side of the first single from the band's forthcoming double LP MAN ON THE SEA, out along with a new and exclusive non-album B-Side in the form of “Heaven Is Blue” on
The time has come for Big Stir Records to begin paving the way for the forthcoming album from Canterbury, England's SPYGENIUS, and we can only do so with “Spite” – that's the A-side of the first single from the band's forthcoming double LP MAN ON THE SEA, out along with a new and exclusive non-album B-Side in the form of “Heaven Is Blue” on Friday, April 24 and available for pre-order at www.bigstirrecords.com/big-stir-digital-singles now. Like the new LP, the single features cover art from the band's brilliant in-house designer, the inimitable CHAMPNISS of London.
Man On The Sea, due later in 2020 as a double vinyl LP and double-length CD, is the ambitious, sweeping fifth album from SPYGENIUS that sees the celebrated jangle-popsters in terrifically witty, genre-hopping form. “Spite”, penned and sung by bassist RUTH ROGERS, is but one one of the eclectic record's sparkling, buoyant-but-wry gems, cut from the same musical cloth as the band's prior single and MOTS track “If You Go A-Roving”.
That the exclusive B-Side, the majestic White-Album-era-Beatles-evoking “Heaven Is Blue”, is not included on Man On The Sea is a testament to the wellspring of inspiration and craft that lead singer and songwriter PETER WATTS has on hand at this time. While his material on the album runs the gamut from ebullient pop to intense postpunk and dark folk, Watts calls “Heaven” “a dive into the murky waters of pastiche” in reference to its debts to the Fabs. “It's loosely inspired by His Blueness, the leader of the Blue Meanies, and sort of a reflection on/reaction to Sexy Sadie/Maharishi… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, saviours and superheroes simply don’t exist, y’all! Here in Spygeniusland, hard-won existential clarity, courage and compassion trump (not Trump!) political naivety (however enticing) every time.” We'd add a soaring sense of melody, a period-perfect arrangement, and a wickedly loping groove to the arsenal of musical armament brought to bear here, but the track is by any measure a non-album jewel to treasure and absolutely essential. Release details for MAN ON THE SEA can be expected in the coming months from Big Stir Records!
The fourth album from Canterbury, England's Spygenius, reissued for the US (with exclusive bonus enclosures) by Big Stir Records!