Spiral Stairs: We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized (Coolin' By Sound/digital outlets)

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The Fool
 Spiral Stairs: We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized (Coolin' By Sound/digital outlets)
Spiral Stairs – co-founder of Pavement Scott Kannberg (with Stephen Malkmus) and also his band's name – play in Australia in April but so far haven't scheduled a New Zealand date.

Maybe too soon after their late 2017 gig here?

That's disappointing because this new album is as strong a collection of fist-tight classic rock as you are likely to hear.

That's if your definition of “classic rock” sidesteps Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and Middle American stadium rockers in favour of the Saints in ballad mode (Diario, the political Fingerprintz which has a touch of early Van Morrison embedded in it), rocking Bowie (the brittle Hold On opens with “station to station . . .” and the post-punk buzz and desperate drama of BTG), melodically snaking and menacing alt.rock (the speak-sing Swampland), the party-on organ-fueled Borderland right at the end (which ironically recalls Van Halen's Jump in SStairs' clipped delivery of the verses) . . .

Constructed like a live set with the sax'n'guitar'drum-driven rhetorical “do you wanna be hypnotized” up first before the classic-sounding power-rock The Fool (elevating Petty-Springsteen power-rock with “feel alive, I feel alive”), this is a strong collection of material.

And if there isn't any great reinvention of genres here that hardly matters.

Because this is played with clenched teeth enthusiasm, compressed power chords, distilled hard rock guitar solos and hammering piano . . .

This would be a great material to see live – at times it possesses the heroic pop grandeur of the Waterboys in intent but not style – but at the moment this doesn't look likely.

No matter, here's a play loud/highway drive collection which is handclap, fist-pump and sometimes lyrically thoughtful rock.

Hard to know what more you could ask for from 10 songs, really.

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