Spitalfield are Victory’s best kept secret and their biggest mistake. By that, I mean that Spitalfield are a band that are so far above others, that it’s still cool to talk about them to people who don’t know who they are. By biggest mistake I mean that people not knowing who they are is an injustice done to this band. I don’t see any elaborate marketing campaign to catapult them into the same league as some of their peers who have gone on to sell hundreds of thousands of albums. Maybe I’m a little bitter, because their previous two albums mean so much to me.
“Remember Right Now” was a record that had a sound reminiscent of other emo/pop-rock bands that I was listening to at the time, but it stood out so much. It remained a permanent fixture in my listening lineup throughout high school. “Stop Doing Bad Things” was met with mixed reviews from fans, but manages to be spun every night(and often on repeat) when I’m going to sleep. I’m one of those people that found it to be far above the sugary goodness of RRN.
That brings us to Spitalfield’s third full length for Victory, “Better Than Knowing Where You Are.” For months, vocalist/guitarist Mark Rose has been saying that this album takes the best of the first two albums and puts them together to create a new direction altogether for the band. It’s true, as this new album is an amalglam of the previous two records, combining the pop sensibilities of the first album with the rock-edge of the second.
“Dare To…” opens the album with Mark’s voice calmly coming across the speakers backed up by an ambient guitar that leads into one of my favorite tracks, the fervent “The Only Thing That Matters.” Vocally, I believe this is Mark at his best, going from a soft croon into an explosive crescendo of vocal power. The pace doesn’t let up as “On The Floor” showcases Rose and former long-time guitarist Dan Lowder’s ability to play off eachother in a way that a lot of younger guitar-duo’s lack. First single “Secrets In Mirrors” proceeds to slow things down a bit. This is one of my least favorite tracks, and I don’t think it was a good pick for a first single. Lyrically, it’s got staying power, but it lacks the punch the previous two songs delivered. The title tracks picks things back up only to have them slowed down again by the relaxing “Hold On.” The song is smiliar to “In The Same Lifetime” from the band’s first Victory full length. The mid-tempo “Won’t Back Down” is easy on the ears and also tends to stick out for me. Three more rockers, including the lackluster “Lasting First Impression” are followed up by one more slow burner in “Novocaine.” Finally closing the album is the ridiculously delicious “Listen.”
While I’m completely in love with this album, a small handful of tracks that aren’t up to par tend to bring it down a little bit. However, the fact of the matter remains. Spitalfield are leaps and bounds above the blandess that so many bands are bringing to this style of music right now, and they always have been. If this record doesn’t elevate this band to a higher place, something is wrong. I can’t stress buying this album enough. Buy it for yourself, your friends, and even your parents. Then tell the world to go buy it.
1. Dare To…
2. The Only Thing That Matters
3. On The Floor
4. Secrets In Mirrors
5. Better Than Knowing Where You Are
6. Hold On
7. Won’t Back Down
8. Curtain Call
9. Tell Me, Clarice
10. Lasting First Impression