There's a fresh and sour succulence to Spencer's new album Physical Culture that I am completely into. This is an album of wonder, innocence and unfiltered truth. It's a killer combo. The sound is one I would categorize as an alt-pop/grunge. She has that playful quirkiness that the great ’90s songstresses experimented on. One of SPENCER's goals, beyond sharing such big parts of her own creative mind, is to galvanize creativity in others. I can say as a creative (so, so writer, less than great painter), mission accomplished. These songs are excellent fuel for daydreaming, formulating, execution and of course writing music reviews. Her gift is revving your engine.
SPENCER in terms of vocal performance is positively swoon worthy. Her performances are blunt, haunting and downright powerful. You won't find a shrinking violet here. She is all pedal to the metal horsepower, I love it. Even when her performances borderline on more spoken than sung, she finds her notes, always. She is poignant, giving the fantastical lyrics a wingtip flare. She is bursting with a notable and unapologetic feminine vibrancy that is never just one note.
Have you ever seen those people who manage to assemble the quintessential and somehow fashionable number of layers in an outfit for a tricky season like late autumn? That's SPENCER. She's a layering queen; finds that perfectly chic mix between organic, electronic and that ex factor. The orchestral aspect is so grandiose and yet, a lot of these songs maintain some sort of small town innocence. The five- piece group incorporates a lot of cello and it is utterly beautiful and almost acts like a second voice on certain tracks. There is also a lot of lovely piano work. Then there's all the sampling and all the electronic tweaking. She is also an architect, building massive, symphonic like movements. Despite the modern alt-pop edge she brings to the table, she builds a good old fashioned crescendo like any of the greats. She creates drama, tension and is very good at stirring the idol parts of your heart.
Let's talk tech for a moment. The production on this album is stellar. The recording process took place at a home studio using protools by producer Mitchell Sloan. I have to tip my to Sloan. You could have told me this was a corporate studio album and I would have believed you. Next up on the list of hat tippers is Luke Fuller who managed the mixing and mastering. As I mentioned there are a lot of layers to these tracks. I can't imagine this was a sweat free project. Fuller also went the work at home route armed with just a laptop to fine tune SPENCER's sound.
Physical Culture is one of those albums that will haunt me for awhile. There's a lot of replay value, I love digging through the lyrics. I think the magic comes from a strong conviction to an unconventional vision. These songs don't adhere to any of rules that define commercial success for music and that's why it stands out.
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