The Spill Canvas

No Really, I'm Fine

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The Spill Canvas share plenty of similarities with contemporaries like Fall Out Boy, the All-American Rejects, and Panic! at the Disco, which can be seen as either a plus or a minus, depending on personal preference. It's no accident that the group's full-length release for 2007, No Really, I'm Fine, draws comparisons to the work of other emo songsters -- the album will probably find a solid following among the teen angst set, with plenty of lyrics dealing with strained or unrequited love, anger against society, struggles with drugs and alcohol, and the sort of persecution complex that seems to exclusively plague those in the 13-17 age demographic. Lead singer and songwriter Nick Thomas even expresses frustration with the songwriting process in "Battles," bemoaning the fact that he must "write those songs and make 'em scream." While it's evident that Thomas knows the crowd he's playing to, he runs the risk of being a bit too insular with No Really, I'm Fine. The album will most likely be of interest to fans of the Spill Canvas or the emo genre in general, but nothing truly stands out enough to draw in new listeners. That's not to say that No Really, I'm Fine is completely inaccessible; the album is punctuated throughout with songs that incorporate enough pop sensibility to appeal to casual listeners. The choruses for both "All Over You" and "Hush Hush" are the sort of catchy hooks that practically guarantee heavy rotation on music television or pop music stations, and "The Truth" showcases some playful guitar riffing from Thomas that lightens up the lyrically bleak number. However, even with two ballads, the brass-punctuated number "Low Fidelity" and the boy band-esque "Connect the Dots," No Really, I'm Fine quickly loses steam. Perhaps it's a lack of adventurous lyrics or a tendency not to stray from formula musically, but whatever the reason, the album becomes repetitive at the halfway mark and even a bit stale toward the end. Fans may find that No Really, I'm Fine has plenty to offer, but it may be a bit too overwrought and melodramatic for those seeking an introduction to either the Spill Canvas or the genre they embody.

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