Album Review: The Spill Canvas – Formalities

The Spill Canvas have been working hard this year, its August and already they have two EP’s and an album, ‘Formalities’, out under their belt. ‘Abnormalities’ and ‘Realities’, the bands two EP’s from this year, were released in January and April featuring brand new material alongside an announcement that they would lead into a brand new studio album; fans couldn’t wait for more. Though what fans couldn’t predict was that The Spill Canvas would follow Welsh band Feeder by releasing a new album which consisted mainly of the two EP’s with only a few new songs featuring within the track listing.

The eleven track album is filled with a mixture of electric and acoustic material with the electric songs coming from five out of the eight songs featuring on the EP’s with two new songs titled ‘As Long As It Takes’ and ‘The Bone’. ‘Formalities’ is completed with four acoustic songs, three of which already appearing on the album in electric form and the return of another song, ’10,000 Midnights’, from their latest EP ‘Realities’ in acoustic.

While on paper The Spill Canvas is a band that I shouldn’t enjoy, I can’t help but love them as Nick Thomas knows exactly what he is doing when he writes catchy and very enjoyable music. The album has that problem of where do you start, especially if you own ‘Abnormalities’ and ‘Realities’ as you are not gaining much.

The Spill Canvas Formalities ArtworkThe new material offers clear indications of a band know who they are and what direction they wish to go in not only their music but their career. The depth and musical talent is showcased throughout, especially during ‘The Bone’, one of the two new songs with ‘As Long As It Takes’. The song shows off more of that rock edge to the band while balancing it with their pop side to give, easily, the best song on the album.

The album still features fan favourites such as ‘Our Song’, one of my favourites, along with ‘Don’t Let Your Enemies Become Friends’ and ‘Good Graces, Bad Influences’. If you were a fan of ‘Gateway Drug’ or ‘Let Go’ then be prepared to be disappointed as both these songs have been dropped from the album.

Not so much a problem with the album as we can simply change it to suit our needs, but it’s how the band have set out the track listing. The album fluctuates from electric to acoustic and back and forth as when we hit track six, ‘The Bone’, from here onwards it is electric, acoustic, electric, and acoustic until the album ends. The flow is rather killed but as I said, we can all change how the track listing looks to suit our needs and one that very likely I will be swapping.

I also have the problem, like I do with Feeder, with the material that is present. Feeder decided to test out a lot of new material under the name Renegades and their music was great, I purchased the two EP’s and never looked back. Though when the band stated the project was over, they announced a new studio album titled ‘Renegades’, under their original name Feeder, featuring much of the two EP’s and I refused to purchase as I wasn’t prepared to purchase the same songs again and this could happen to The Spill Canvas. With only two brand new songs and four acoustic versions, three of those songs like I stated already appear on the album in electric form, it does seem like a way of take advantage of fans for little in return. If the band had decided to offer more new material, even in acoustic form, then it would have made the album a lot more inviting to purchase but right now it will throw fans and I can only see many of them purchasing the new songs as it’s a digital album and not physical.

For the band to have truly made something of this, they should have released another EP. While most fans have the EP’s already, they will only purchase the two new songs, giving little in return to the band but if they had released an EP with those two songs and the acoustic songs also, it would have been a different story for them. The album offers The Spill Canvas that you love but it doesn’t offer anything more than that as the two brand new songs don’t give enough justification to this release.

Rating – 7


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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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