Album Review: Spitting Image – Full Sun

This debut album by a Nevada post-punk quartet wears its influences on its sleeve, but is very enjoyable nonetheless.

The Breakdown

This debut album by a Nevada post-punk quartet wears its influences on its sleeve, but is very enjoyable nonetheless.

Over a decade after forming in Reno, Nevada in 2012, post-punk quartet Spitting Image are now releasing their debut full-length album. They released a number of EPs before disbanding in 2014 and reforming five years later. Their LP, ‘Full Sun,’ is an impressive piece of work. The band have a sound that recalls 90s post-hardcore luminaries like Fugazi and The Nation of Ulysses, most noticeably on ‘Spirit Trouble Flash.’

Vocalist Austin Pratt sounds a lot like Guy Picciotto, but not in a manner that comes across as in any way contrived. It’s more the case that his vocals are naturally, heavily redolent of the great man’s and act as an evocative reminder of a time when Picciotto and Fugazi were releasing brilliant new music on a regular basis. Normally, when bands sound too much like ‘the F band’ they come across as a pale imitation of the real thing, but there is much to enjoy here.

The way in which Jack Scribner lays down steady, solid, rhythmic basslines on songs like ‘Turn Person’ and ‘Plea Dealer’ is particularly impressive, for instance. Guitarist Julian Jacobs gets a sound out of his guitar that is caustic but also very pleasurable on ‘Still Thing’ and ‘Broadcast,’ whilst drummer Donovan Williams’ work really shines through on ‘Devils Bloom.’ I was also taken with the fast, furious, Daughters-esque pacing of ‘Black Box.’ Underpinning all of this is solid production work from Nation of Ulysses guitarist Tim Green. He has done a great job of recording the album, ensuring ‘Full Sun’ has a crisp, vivid sound throughout.

The downbeat ‘In Menace Meadow’ slows the pace down slightly before Spitting Image close ‘Full Sun’ with the barnstorming title track. It is the best song on the album by some distance and a hugely memorable finale. The band fuse their 90s post-hardcore influences with the sound of late 70s art-punk greats Television, creating a song that is innovative, memorable, and (in its own way) catchy. Jacobs’ solo that begins around three-and-a-half minutes in manages to be both technically proficient and affecting. It’s a textbook conclusion to an impressive debut album.

‘Full Sun’ sees Spitting Image drawing upon sonic templates that are well-worn and doing something new and enjoyable with them. The band clearly have a lot of love and respect for artists from the past (particularly the 1990s), but they have used their influences to craft songs that have a lot of verve and energy to them. Fans of bands like Fugazi, Nation of Ulysses, Television, Drive Like Jehu, Protomartyr (who Spitting Image are due to support on tour), and latter-day Ceremony will not want to miss this. ‘Full Sun’ is available now via Slovenly Recordings. Order it here.

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