Spot

Spot

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Spot's single, eponymous album was released in 1972 on Evasion, a label that specialized mainly in pop and folk artists, and is one of Switzerland's rarest collector's items from the '70s. Part of its mystique comes from the fact that its only availability outside the relatively few copies of the LP in existence was on a bootleg vinyl release. A greater part of the mystique likely comes as a result of the band's music. Especially noteworthy is the songwriting of bassist Andre Jungo and drummer Philippe Dubugnon, who compose nine of the ten original songs (there is also a cover of Donovan's "Jersey Thursday"). They were equally capable of sweetly melodic folk-rock ("I Am One"), both eerie and gritty progressive rock ("By the Way," with its ringing, slow-motion electric piano and vocals that anticipate Axl Rose by a good 15 years), or equal-opportunity mutations ("In My Dreams," which opens with some jazzy drums before stopping on a dime and becoming a lovely folk-rock ballad, then again morphing into a sweaty blues). Nearly every song shifts time signatures two or three times in the course of the song, but instead of seeming schizophrenic, it just seems appropriate, perfectly executed. Each song contains something that is surprising and snaps listeners out of any expectations they might bring with them. Even if some aspect of the music sounds commonplace -- and occasionally Spot does rely on a hard rock banality -- it is soon undercut by something original. Spot's music is not as disjointed and dissonant as Can's, but they do sometimes approach Can's powerful, hypnotic, drone-like quality. Lead singer Pavlo Pendaki's vocals are caught midway between Damon Suzuki's mumble and Robert Plant's histrionics. On "Portobello," he appropriates Plant's leather-trousered mystic bit without going as over the top as Plant. In fact, Spot's music sounds much more taut and thankfully restrained in comparison to much period hard rock. Perhaps that also has something to do with the fact that the hearts of the bandmembers seem to be entrenched in folk music first, and hard rock only as a way of progressing that music.