Here Comes The Bride

Spin Doctors

DAS / Universal Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Most people probably consider the Spin Doctors to be the answer to a trivia question about '90s alternative music. After setting the genre on its ear with their quirky but catchy style of funky alternative rock on "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" and "Two Princes", and with lead singer Chris Barron's pseudo-hippie approach to the music, the band seemed to be a shot in the arm that alternative rock needed.

Then came the stinkburger Turn It Upside Down, which was so bad that it made me lose complete interest in this band. A shuffling of band members and an almost unheard-of third album later, they seemed to be doomed to musical limbo.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But, wait - not so fast. Now comes their fourth studio effort Here Comes The Bride, and not only have the Spin Doctors all but abandoned the sound that brought them fame and got old overnight, but they've put out a pretty damn good album - something I honestly never expected to say about this disc prior to giving it a few spins in the CD player.

Barron and crew (I'm working off a white label promo, and I don't have a listing of current band personnel) wisely don't try to recapture the magic that struck them in the early '90s; instead, they choose to plow a new musical path which still keeps a bit of the goofiness that endeared the band to millions.

What I'm afraid of is that radio will jump on those moments of silliness, like "Gorilla Boy". The problem with doing this is twofold: first, this is hardly the strongest material on Here Comes The Bride; second, it's hardly characteristic of where the band is today.

Even on the title track, which does start out with the strains of the wedding march, Barron and crew quickly turn the track into something more significant, and by combining solid songwriting with a more solid rock base in the playing, put their money where their mouths are. Even the tango-like qualities of "Vampires In The Sun" hold up well because, despite the different approach to the music, they take a more serious approach to their craft.

What hammers things home for the Spin Doctors are tracks like "The Man," "The Bigger I Laugh The Harder I Cry," "WOW" and "Gone Mad," songs that all dare the listener to accept them for what they are, not the band's past. Looked at in that light, the bulk of Here Comes The Bride is exceptional.

There still are a few weak moments ("Dodging Assassins" just doesn't seem like they put as much effort into it as they could have), and the "hidden" track is a wasted effort in goofiness, but Here Comes The Bride does something that you never would have expected from the Spin Doctors: it challenges you to take them seriously. After all, you don't want to blow your second chance at the spotlight.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 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 DAS / Universal Records, and is used for informational purposes only.