Even before you hear a note of Spud Cannon’s third album, Good Kids Make Bad Apples, the band already have a couple of things in their favour.
First, they hail from Poughkeepsie, famously namechecked by Gene Hackman as Popeye Doyle in seminal ‘70s cop flick The French Connection, possibly the decade’s best film.
Second, the album is said to be recorded and engineered at Vassar College Squash Court 1, which is maybe not quite Abbey Road or Stax Studios, but it definitely has a romance all its own.
Vassar is actually where it all begins in the Autumn of 2016, and the story of Spud Cannon charts the emotional journey of finding oneself with vignettes of rock and roll highs and lows interspersed throughout. All, mostly, before the quintet of Meg Matthews (lead vox), Jackson Walker Lewis (guitar), Ari Bowe (keys), Lucy Horgan (bass) and Benjamin Scharf (drums) could buy a drink (legally).
And once the music on this newest long-ish player – the nine tracks barely stretch to half an hour – does kick in you find yourself pining for the live music experience you’ve been missing for the last 18 months.
The songs remind you of what it feels like to get hot, sweaty, and excited inside a tiny venue, and feel that cold air on your face as you leave, t-shirt sticking to your back, but with the elation of the night making everything else irrelevant.
These are songs recorded by a band with all the brio and chutzpah that comes from still being young, ready to take chances and channelling your energy into some galvanising New Wave style indie coated in a pleasing pop patina.
The album was apparently recorded after a tour that almost broke them apart – and what a crying shame that would have been.
Opener ‘Juno’ is a belting rush chronicling the familiar highs and lows of a night out with a killer chorus, followed by single release ‘Supersonic’ which climaxes in a deluge of guitars and keys.
The five-piece add a little touch of indie funk to proceedings on ‘Out!’ with some striking Nile-esque rhythm guitar, and the change of pace comes along in the form of the leisurely ‘Lovely’ which slouches pleasantly along before being lifted at the close by the introduction of a choice bit of brass.
‘P.O.T.A.T.O’ could be early B-52s for just one minute and 13 seconds, and the album is rounded off by the classy ‘Easy‘ which is where everything gets streamlined into a powerful whole with some of the rawer edges smoothed out. Not that there had been anything wrong with the rougher edges, of course!
Good Kids Make Bad Apples is out on June 25th via Good Eye Records. Pre-order the record on delicious red vinyl, here.