I don’t seem to remember bands like Karp and GodHeadSilo, or even the usually vocal Steve Albini and Shellac, referencing Saccharine Trust and Wire when it came to proclaiming inspiration for their brutal attempts at skewing punk into avant angles. Maybe it was the dearth of the internet in those times, but now reference points are tidbits thrown our way before we even set the needle on the record. It’s certainly not the fault of Austin’s Spray Paint that they exist in such an age. For them, there really is no precursor for what they do with dissonant punk. And I suppose that eliminates my role in this equation as well. Though you could list a hundred bands from the past—let’s go with the German Shepherds, Devo, Flipper, and Adam and the Ants—we should give Spray Paint particular credit for sounding like all of them without sounding like any of them. And I’m sure they keep their mouths shut when asked of such inspiration.
That’s usually the case with a record helmed, produced, and released by Scott Soriano. The man has an ear for the gleefully deranged. He is, after all, the guy who brought the world Los Llamarada. Spray Paint isn’t nearly as esoteric and amorphous as that band, but a similar dry, brittle skeleton is at the core here. “Yawn Factory” owes heavily to the repetition of the almighty Fall. It’s a warped riff barely tuned that could stand as the only structure in the song, disguised as a melody by the time it’s pulled under by the group’s penchant for brash, crusty, forever-echoed guitars that rub atop like sandpaper. Things get dizzy (or druggy, depending on mood) rather quick. Spray Paint could play each and every side straight here, but their inventiveness gets in the way. “Possible Lungs” and “Jimi’s Apartment” give the sensation that punk should not even be mentioned in relation to Spray Paint; punk comes second to the wackiness and idiosyncratic earworms once employed by early Polvo or Truman’s Water. The Residents were punk, right? Throw it all out the window as “Funeral Upskirts” is downright creepy, yet propulsive all at once. Here’s it’s the beat that gets grotesque. You could lump Spray Paint in with all of the other sci-fi loving, nihilistic types. Sure, the record is weird beyond compare, but I can’t exactly put my finger on why Spray Paint’s debut comes across as more. It’s a learned record. It takes some time. Thankfully SS has included the band’s excellent duo of out-of-print singles as a bonus to their evolution. Watch out below.
Kevin J. Elliott