Stop Doing Bad Things


Victory, 2005

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


Why can't living the title of this release be as easy as saying it? Just stop it, those bad things that we struggle with on a daily basis. Whether it's the vices that get a lot of people in trouble -- drugs, drinking, general stupidity -- or elements of the human condition like gambling and lying and selfishness, one would think the solution to the problems is for people to just STOP.

At least, that's Spitalfield's advice on this disc, which arrives between their twin peaks of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Remember Right Now and Better Than Knowing Where You Are. This disc doesn't quite have the magic cure for how, exactly, to stop doing what prevents you from achieving that better life, but it tries.

Spending time with this, listening to it repeatedly, allows it to grow on you. Granted, nothing here is as arresting as previous Spitalfield outings, but the message is what takes center stage here, with enough Spitalfield-isms to tide fans over.

You won't find a song title sung within the lyrics, since these song titles are obtuse and windy. Check out "So I Heard You Joined a Convent" and "Building a Better City by Design," or my favorite, "Simple Minds, Simple Lives." Within each of these songs, tirades are spewed by vocalist/guitarist Mark Rose. In "Tampa Bum Blues," the advice is pointed, and in keeping on message: "If you've got something to say / just say it." In "Restraining Order Blues," the lyrics are a technical writer's nightmare when vocalist/ guitarist Mark Rose sings, "You can throw out the instructions / we don't need them anymore." As a tech writer, let me say: ALWAYS read the documentation. 

Another example is "Gold Dust Vs. The The State of Illinois," where Rose sings "Don't let this keep you down / why do that to yourself / what could you be after?" Out of context, these lyrics are generic slabs of advice on a hot grill, marinating in their own juices of knowledge. Taken with the theme, they make a lot more sense.

This release fits nicely into Spitalfield's progression as a band, although the lack of follow-through on the message is what keeps this from being ranked higher. Well, that, and the fact that it's not as good as what came before or after it. Still, there is enough here to make it worthwhile.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2007 Paul Hanson 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 Victory, and is used for informational purposes only.