The Spits

Sat Dec 20

Twilight Café

The Spits get compared to the Ramones, the Real Kids, the Screamers and the like, which is fair enough, but not entirely accurate. Their sound is an amalgamation of years of ritualized record

connoisseurship ; many, many agonizing band practices; and hundreds (maybe thousands) of 40-ouncers. Basically, their sound is the result of their lifestyle.

During their years as the Spits, a partnership of dissenting brothers carefully sifted through a rigorous set of punk standards that few outsiders can ever hope to understand. The Wood brothers (bassist Erin and guitarist Sean) serve as each other's muses; their bottom line is a calculated arsenal of punk nuggets. This system of fraternal checks and balances has consequently made the Spits one of the best live bands in the Northwest. Natural sibling tension keeps them tight; if they fuck up, they're all over each other.

This is their third album on as many labels, and follows the most comprehensive tour they've had to date (last year's outing with Rocket from the Crypt). Now, the Spits are adjusting themselves (replacing their drummer for this year's tour) in anticipation of supporting their newest release on Dirtnap. Like their other releases, it is self-titled and contains exactly nine tracks.

The Spits translate to wax in an adolescent, jovially energetic way, with forays into diversity--a brave move for any purist punk band. They show off with tape looped interludes, low-tech electro ("1989") and aural satanic rituals ("Witch Hunt"). While they have the talent to pull it off, by third listen, these experimental snips are tantamount to skits on a rap record. They can present hurdles between you and the perfect two-minute punk song, which the Spits drive home with amazing baritone harmonies, Rat Box distortion and single-note keyboard blasts. You can learn to love the explorative horseplay, though; their subsequent shows bring the punk in a heaping dump truck.

The Spits' penchant for humor and stage theatrics is now legendary, with each show promising a new array of costumes and enough flat-out rock to destroy your expectations. Simply put, the Spits show you how to make punk fun again.