Review Summary: While it's not the band we fell in love with, the Spill Canvas show that they're at the top of their game. No Really, I'm Fine is possibly one of the best albums to be released by the band; after you get over the fact that it isn't another "Sunsets"
The Spill Canvas started out as the acoustic brain child of Nick Thomas, blah blah blah. If you're familiar with them, you know this by now. Here's something new though, it's not just a small acoustic/indie band anymore. This time they go with more of a 70's hard rock/90's alt, approach, and you know what" They just may take over the world.
Take the album opener "Reckless abandonment for example. The first thing you'll notice here, and on the rest of the album, is that Nick and Dan shred their asses off. The hard rock component of the album really seems to have given Nick the incentive to show just the kind of guitarist he is, and it works. Tracks like "Battles", "Hush Hush" and "Bleed, Everyone's Doing It" portray that especially.
On lyrics a change not only in writing, but subject matter is apparent. No longer does Nick focus solely on relationships good and bad. Take (Once again) the first track "Reckless Abandonment". Right off the bat you're told that the Spill Canvas don't care about "All those little pricks, and their little scenes." Or the more socially/politically motivated "Bleed, Everyone's Doing It", in which Nick tells exactly how he feels on the topics of religion and politicians. "Battles" gives you a taste of life on the road and the dangers of fame in general; a story told over a daunting slide guitar melody.
On the other side of the spectrum, are the songs about love, lust, and everything in between. "The Truth", about lying to yourself to keep a relationship going; "Connect The Dots", a song blatantly about sex and knowing just how to please your lover. "Low Fidelity" is about longing for someone while being far from them; and boasts a striking chorus complete with a horn arrangement. On the other hand, "One Thing Is For Sure" tells just the opposite; a song about living and breathing for your loved one.
"Saved" and "Appreciation And The Bomb" are two Spill Canvas songs we're all familiar with. Both were reworked and are infinitely better for the trouble. The addition of keys to "Saved" (Courtesy of Andrew McMahon), and the integration of a full band to "Appreciation" really make the tracks stand out much more than their predecessors.
The Spill Canvas have always done closers well, whether it be "Sunsets and Car Crashes" (From the album of that name) or "Self-Conclusion" (One Fell Swoop) and this album is no different. "Lullaby" is a strikingly honest acoustic love ballad in which Nick tells of his devotion to his lover. This track is worth listening just for the openness of lines like "It's about the way you laugh out of pity, 'cause let's be honest I'm not really that funny."
Whereas it may not be the band we fell in love with, the boys at Camp Spill show us they got it right. They really are in their element on the new album.