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Articles > Articles & Reviews > 2010 Rocksposure Reviews

Artist of the Month:    
"Believe" Album Review

By Chris Brach

Even with modern technology, a lot goes into coordinating the effort and tools necessary to produce a high quality record.  But there are few elements as important as the location where you choose to capture your riffs and lyrics to immortalize them for listeners around the globe.  The chosen venue for recording has a profound impact on the material written, sound captured, and overall tone of a record.  Over the years the legends have all taken to exotic locales to create their masterpieces. Even Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, and Genesis spent their respective time hunkered in, Headley Grange, an old English Victorian Manor, to write and record some of the most influential rock songs to ever conceived.  (Headley Grange was apparently so inspirational, Jimmy Page is said to have penned the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven” in a single day writing there).  They were off the beaten path, in their own controlled world, and immersed in a creative environment that allowed them to thrive.

As Philadelphia’s Spin finished touring across much of the Eastern US and decided it was time to write and record their full length debut album “Believe,” the band knew that the choice of venue was as important a factor as any in producing the quality record that they knew they were capable of coming up with.  In a drastic departure from their previous EP releases, the band took a pass on the polished sound of the studio and decided to handle all of the recording, mixing, and mastering on their own using Pro Tools, some new mics, and a little bit of trial and error.  But to add flavor to the experience, Spin decided the best place to record was a 150 year old funeral home in the their hometown.  Like I said earlier, a venue has a major impact on an album.  Something as simple as the candle on the cover of “Believe” changes from an object of inspiration to an eerie flame flickering in a dark room.  Music flows from where it was created and inspired, and Spin started off on the right foot with this unique approach.

“Believe” is far from a dark record.  In fact, at times it borders on being almost a little too upbeat and poppy.  But through the course of the album Spin figured out a great formula that keeps you listening the whole way through. And with the level of energy they bring to every track, I can’t think of a more fitting name for the band than SPIN.

“Believe” is a testament to a year’s worth of hard work by the band.  “What started out as an experiment in learning to record better demos ended up being our first full-length album”, says lead singer Eric Rothenheber.  With songs ranging from soaring ballads to driving hard rock,
the tracks on “Believe” will get stuck in your head, it’s just a matter of which one. As the album opens with a haunting intro on “Hurt by You”, Spin immediately immerses you in the emptiness of their funeral parlor world as the tones of a lonesome piano quickly builds into a frenzied keyboard-filled assault.  “Hurt by You” is aggressive and everything a lead track should be to draw you into an album.

Spin hangs onto the fast tempo and picks up the mood on “Don’t Look Down” and the title track “Believe”; both carrying a more lyrically inspirational message than the opening track.  Spin’s upbeat sound finds its way onto several other tracks, including “Left Behind” and “Over and Over”.  The later has a really nice acoustic transition to wrap up the song, a truly unique touch and no small mixing feat for a group of guys just learning on their recording equipment.

The upbeat side of “Believe” is good, but where Spin truly shines is on the harder jams.  The emotion captured on “Time to Let Go” is unmatched on the album.  With an aggressive guitar riff and “take a stand” message the song draws you in.  “Time to Let Go” story tells as much musically as it does lyrically, which is the ultimate complement to a song writer.  

“End of Our World” and “Sorrow Girl” are equally hard songs featuring some great guitar and drum work.  Like a few of the other bands we have featured on the site recently, Spin adds significant character to its songs using some heavily involved keyboards and electronic effects.  Modern Alternative music is bringing back the keyboard, and bands seem to be getting better and better at effectively adding it to their mix.

For their first stab at recording, and given the intricacies of their music, Spin’s accomplishments with “Believe” are more than impressive.  If you heard this on the radio tomorrow, you’d assume it was just another band that bought some time in the studio.  But, now that you know it was recorded in a 150 year old funeral parlor, that sure gives it a little different feel, doesn’t it?  You know what they say: Location Location Location.

Hear a few tracks off of Spin's album "Believe" by clicking here

As the Webmaster and Founder of Rocksposure.com, Chris Brach is always looking for new music from up and coming rock bands.  You never know, they could be our next Artist of the Month!  If there is something you think he should give a listen to, email him at GetRocked@Rocksposure.com

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