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With an eight year gap since their last album The Real Feel, Spiral Stairs have come back more evolved and established with their new Album – Doris And The Daggers. Here, Scott Kannberg (founding member of pavement) draws from a bank of human sentiment due to an array of life experiences. From the joys of fatherhood to the tragic loss of a friend, these events have inspired this new album. Deep rooted in the emotion of everyday life, it’s relatable and comforting. All in an enjoyable collection of warm summery tracks –filling your head with sunshine from the first couple of seconds.
The album itself is drenched in light energy, almost every song gives you a sense of freedom and free spiritedness, which may seem odd as some of the songs were inspired by loss. However, Kannberg is known to make even songs with a more morose subject to have an upbeat façade. This certainly rings true with tracks such as Emoshuns, No Comparison and Trams (stole my love.) They are incredibly summery and reminiscent of simpler times – a craving a beer on the beach with your nearest and dearest kind of feeling.
The opening track Dance (Cry Wolf) reels you instantly as the guitar rings out with a melodic clang, while the catchy bass line weaves around it, as Scott nonchalantly sings across. He (Scott) describes it as a “Positive, dance-away-the-pain thing.” It certainly does beg you to dance, or at the very least reservedly tap your feet to the contagious rhythm. No comparison is more as it has a slightly different feel as it echoes a sort of 80’s alternative sound similar to Talking Heads meets B52’s chemistry. A head nodding, pleasing baseline with peppered with some electro flavouring. Breaking down into a funky, almost early hip-hop sounding coda as the song comes to an end with an abrupt drum lick. The title Track Doris and the Daggers ends the album, again steers away from the general sun drenched vibe of the album. It has more of a cosmic-punky assembly,that ends with a peculiar short story about a man with no arms.
Lyrically, Kannberg is an avid story teller, even opening one of the tracks on the album (Unconditional) with “Let me tell you a story…” You can almost find yourself completely focusing on the story and not on the actual music. The words have the power to intrigue you, make you laugh and cry with his poignant prose. Especially with songs like Unconditional as it tells of the Joyful journey of fatherhood and Trams (stole my love) tells of a loss.
All in all this album brings back a little of what we’ve missed in this genre for a good few years. As it fills our senses with familiarity and a longing to relive our greatest memories, evoking feelings of 90’s nostalgia. The singer’s roots in Pavement still run deep, making us feel like summer is just around the corner.
For fans of: Pavement, Modest Mouse and the Eels