Review: Spiral Stairs - 'The Real Feel'

In June, we were all pleasantly surprised by Matador's announcement (on their Matablog) of Scott 'Spiral Stairs' Kannberg's first-official solo-outing 'The Real Feel'. The news was accompanied by a memorable album cover and presumably the lead single, 'Maltese T' with it's Pavement-esque jangle-pop which instantly rooted itself in my mind and my play list with a stellar follow-up single, 'True Love' hitting the net a couple weeks ago.

Last week, I spun the full album for the first time and it is as good as the two singles would lead one to believe. Kannberg has put together a grown-up pop album with a decent amount of alt-country influence including lush slide-fills and banjo riffs too. But, undoubtedly, plenty of his sound contribution in Pavement is present in the LP as well.

On 'Call the Ceasefire', Kannberg sings 'did you realize, that was betrayal'. Perhaps the album may have been during the Pavement era but, the hiatus/break allowed him to polish up and offer a release as good as anything else that you've heard this year and comparable to most of the Pavement albums.

The album bobs and weaves through genres without losing it's focus or the listener's attention but, always comes back to that slight country twang that separates this album from the pack - it's cohesion is in it's diversity. 'Wharf Hand Blues' reminds me of an early-90's, contemporary jazz, Sade type vibe. While 'Subiaco Shuffle' is a foot-stomping, blues jam that could have easily been a Black Crowes b-side.

The album hits stores 10/20/09. If you are in LA, catch him at The Troubadour on 10/19 – he is supporting Bob Mould.

Rating: 8.5/10

Key tracks: 'Maltese T', 'True Love', 'Cold Change'

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