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SPRAYDOG – Karate Summer Camp (CD, Ferric Mordant Records)

Posted: March 5th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Spraydog are a band that would’ve fared much better if they’d have been operating in the American underground scene of the early-to-mid nineties. Their fuzzy, simple, sweet-natured songs, with dual male/female vocals struggling for space amongst warmly overdriven guitar lines, remind me of the output of labels like Simple Machines and Slumberland. They share a sense of hopefulness and melody with bands of yore like Velocity Girl, Lilys and Tsunami – stretching the parameters of indie rock with odd touches of dissonance and faltering lo-fi production, but never forgetting to keep the tunes in the foreground.

Over Karate Summer Camp‘s fourteen tracks, the mood is mainly one of forward-looking resolution; of making the best of unfortunate situations. There are nods towards the influence of a variety of bands – the Sonic Youth ‘Mote’-style opening of ‘Prizefighters’, the dreamy My Bloody Valentine vocal style of previous single ‘Allison Blaire’, the Codeine/Low slowcore pondering of ‘Bring All Your Sorrows’, for example – but in the main Spraydog’s sound, whilst not devastatingly original, is slowly becoming something all their own.

I’ve listened to this album over and over recently, and it doesn’t seem to do anything but repay such repeated listening. There is the odd touch that isn’t entirely in character for the band, like the aggressive yelped vocals of ‘One Big So-So’, which don’t quite work, but in spite of a very few faults this is still a solid, successful album, that marks out Spraydog as a band with a big heart and an uncanny knack with melody.

More on diskant:
Review of 2006’s ‘Allison Blaire’ single
Interview with Ferric Mordant Records

Ferric Mordant

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


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