TRACK PREMIER & ALBUM REVIEW: Spyn Reset's Dots
Words by Erica Garvey (Funk Fiend)
Dots is a fresh take on the electro-rock concept and a natural step for Spyn Reset. The music itself is just one sensible rung up the ladder from their previous work, and the tip-top sound engineering allows the songs to reach their full potential. Spyn Reset’s music veers slightly outside of my usual genres, but the high level of creativity and musicianship shown here speaks across generations and cultures. Progressive, complicated electronic sounds make up 80% of the music, flourished with breaks of beautiful raw piano phrases, thumps of actual snare and kick drums, and simple guitar melodies. The proportions of electronic, electric, and acoustic tones seem perfectly suited to this trio and are consistently displayed through the tidy 49 minutes of album tracks.
Recorded at London Bridge Studio near the band’s homebase of Seattle, Dots is the fourth album from Spyn Reset, which, in the band’s present form, consists of Yasu on keys and vocals, Pierson Martin on drums, and Evan McPherson on guitar. It took three years to write and develop the songs, and it took just these three band members to record on four synthesizers, guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Collectively the band draws on its members’ individual influences, ranging from heavy metal to Japanese pop. I can only imagine they have an excellent working relationship or this concept would never even make it into the recording studio, much less develop into such a cohesive album.
This album is emotional but not dramatic. Most of the songs express varying degrees of angst and hope; the overarching theme expressed through Yasu’s vocals implores the listener to connect to other humans. Generally the lyrics are accretive to the music and right in the sweet spot: not too complicated or obscure, but timeless clear phrases woven directly into the fabric of each song.
While there are plenty of moments of inspiration to move your feet (“Whirlwind” and “Conundrum” get my vote for excellent danceability), the creative time signatures make it slightly difficult for the listener to dance through the entire album, as many of Spyn Reset’s fans may expect to do at their live shows. Instead, these songs invite the listener to actually pay attention: electronic beats reminding you to put down your electronics.
Defined by its crisp composition, musicianship, and production, Dots makes it easy for us electro-prog-rock newbies to wade in.
For readers in the Seattle area, you can hear songs from Dots (and the band’s previous albums) played live at Spyn Reset’s album release show on August 23 at Nectar Lounge!