Pocket Full Of Kryptonite

Spin Doctors

Epic Records, 1991


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I remember the first time I ever listened to Pocket Full Of Kryptonite, the debut studio album from trip-rockers The Spin Doctors. I also remember not being terribly impressed back in 1991 - and, to the best of my knowledge, this tape has sat in storage in the Pierce Memorial Archives for nearly a decade.

I don't know what possessed me to dig it out from one of the boxes. Maybe it was that I had been impressed with what appears to be the band's final release (unless singer Chris Barron's vocal chord paralysis miraculously heals itself), Here Comes The Bride. Maybe it was morbid curiosity - was there more substance to this tape than the two singles that get overplayed on radio to this day?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Sure enough, Pocket Full Of Kryptonite proved to be a worthwhile listen, and dispelled all fears I had about not living up to its potential. It is a portrait of a band discovering just how funky roots-rock can be, but it's kind of fun watching the creative process.

Everyone over the age of 10 has to know the singles by now - "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" and "Two Princes". These are decent enough tracks, and it is funny to hear the anger wrapped in the humor of "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong". But wrapped up in these songs, as well as the track "How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Me?)" and, to an extent, "Jimmy Olsen's Blues" is a recurrent theme of unrequieted love. I don't know if this was coincidence, but I tend to think it was intentional - after all, Blues Traveler's John Popper is credited with "inspiration" for "Two Princes". (Popper also contributes harmonica to two tracks.)

What is striking about Pocket Full Of Kryptonite is that, for the most part, it's a strong album from beginning to end. There is only one weak link in the chain, that being the half-baked funk exercise "What Time Is It?". But aside from that, you could pick up this album at any song and it would sound like a natural place to begin your journey - that's not a common trait in any album. From "More Than She Knows" and "Refrigerator Cars" to the coulda-woulda-shoulda been a hit single "Jimmy Olsen's Blues," this album lays down a solid groove and refuses to let it go.

The unheralded stars of the band, though, are bassist Mark White and drummer Aaron Comess. Sure, Barron was a charismatic front man, and guitarist Eric Schenkman provided some very tasty licks throughout the album. But if it wasn't for the frantic drum work of Comess and the slap-happy bass work of White, this project would not have the same spark of creative genius.

Pocket Full Of Kryptonite remains the high-water mark for the Spin Doctors; whether this is fair to the band or not, we'll discover as we continue to plow through their discography. But it does prove itself to be an album far more worthy of recognition than for its two hit songs, and is worth a full investigation, even after nearly a decade on the market.

Rating: B+

User Rating: C-



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.