Linus Van Pelt once opined that the fury of a woman scorned paled in comparison to that of a fury of a woman who missed out on Tricks or Treats. I would like to humbly add for consideration the frustration of a man being airbrushed out of the creative picture of one P.J. Harvey, and dismissed as a hired gun, or at worst, a Ringo. But being written off as a footnote on the same level as, perhaps, the drummer in Belly simply won’t do for an individual as talented and perhaps even driven as one Rob Ellis. So he’s back with avant-troupe Spleen, as in venting some, as in bile. So is Spleen merely an exercise in musical revenge? No way, no how! Spleen is a loose aggregate of musical vagabonds in the good sense of the word. Think Naked City. Think Golden Palominos. There, all better now?
I like Spleen cuz they’re not very obvious in what they do, yet they still hold on to the essential darkness and immediacy that makes a good lil’ rock and roll record (no offense). So you’ve got your spoken word freakouts, your ultra-breathy Bad Seeds chanteuse workouts, and a few surprising sidetracks, like a pulpy-noir instrumental workout. Hey, color me impressed, even with all of this eclecticism, there•s not a hint of self-consciousness or “look-at-my-wacky-scrapbook”-ness. And with Pinky McClure present as well, I’m sold.
Function8 Music, PO Box 411195, San Francisco, CA, 94141-1195, http://www.function8.com