Common Spit – Puns (EP review)

I’m quite excited to finally get my head around the new “Puns” EP from Bristol based Instrumental duo Common Spit. I checked out a fantastic livestream where they performed a short set at the Exchange in Bristol earlier this week (which is currently up on their Facebook page I believe). Now, with this new set of ferocious tunes fresh in my mind, I’m ready to give my verdict on this unique, but rambunctious, pair of naughty little lads.  

This 4-track run of songs opens with ‘Britney’s Pears’, kicking off a string of pun-related song names ahead of us – if you hadn’t have already guessed from the EP’s title of course! It bolsters itself into your attention with a multitude of fuzzy bass guitar riffs, almost sounding like a Pop-Punk track, before quickly devolving into its more serene and calmer ambience.

BOOM! We’re back with thick and heavy buzzsaw bass runs, being led by a barrage of confident Hard-Rock drum beats. Reviewing instrumental music can be quite a difficult task without much prior context, but the constant shifts in the dynamics throughout the track keeps it a really emotion-intensifying listen. Their style of music comes under the header of Math Rock, mainly due to the use of irregular timings, the scattered manipulation of musical hooks and a total ‘fuck you’ to the traditional verse, chorus, verse, chorus structure. 

Huge Grant’ continues the distorted whir of guitar and high-end shrieks that are achieved by precision control of the many exciting effects pedals they have at their disposal. I love all those little extra odd quirks in songs like these, they really stick out in helping to create such an interesting sound. This track has a heavier vibe but a more accessible ‘chorus’ (if you could even call it that?). Their overall sound reminds me of a synth-less version of Manchester band ‘Plank!’ – who also create a similar kind of sweet but also unwieldy distinctive sound.  

The next track ‘Phil or No Phil’ wriggles its way into my headphones, with a bit more of an angular bite and its prominent percussive beats. With a short lead line reminiscent of the wobbly Peter Hook bass lines, it quickly kicks into much heavier territory, then back down to smooth synths, militant plods and 5-stringed yelps. This is bloody great! The track ends with an enticing crescendo, a shoegaze swell of melodic uproar.

‘Mustard Mitt’ concludes the EP, stamped with spasmodic twiddling riffs and careful drumming – you can really nod your head along to this in excitement and perplexity. Again, I think the dynamics really add a lot to the feel of the songs, giving you quite tranquil highs but also balancing it out with tumultuous lows. It’s all over the place, but in the best way possible!  

It’s really hard to pin down the influences of the band by not being entirely knowledgeable with this genre of music myself, but I do really enjoy it, especially after watching them perform live in Cwmaman back in 2019. Their performance was totally mesmerising. You just couldn’t take your eyes off the astounding level of musicianship that the couple presented to the little pub audience that were situated halfway up the mountain. With my own limited education on the subject of Mathematical Rock & Roll, I’d say the band are the missing link between Kyuss and The Durutti Column, but leaning more towards the vociferous side. The pretty bits are there on occasion, but we do like the nasty grit just as much, if not more so!   

“Puns” is out now and ready for your ears. Check it out HERE on Spotify. It’s also available on Bandcamp, where you can support the band by purchasing a digital copy of the EP

Mitchell Tennant – 13/05/2021

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