Span – Vs. Time

Way back when in May, I proclaimed Span to be the Band of the Month. I spouted endless praise for the Norwegian rockers, as I usually do when I give a band the honour of being Band of the Month, saying how much I loved their music and that I desperately wish any store in my vicinity would get ahold of their CD so that I could purchase it legitimately. That much I can still stand by. I also mentioned that they would be releasing a second album in the coming month or so. This is why I’ve decided to address you this fine day.

Now if you’re quick, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I have indeed listened to said new album. What you may not have guessed is that I’m not entirely satisfied with it. It’s not that Vs. Time is a bad album. No. It’s perfectly good listening material. The thing about it is that it’s nowhere near as good as their fist go, Mass Distraction. You know what, scratch what I said about it being perfectly good, as I may contradict that phrase in the next few sentences. Paragraphs, even.

The CD starts out great, best foot forward for sure. The first three songs are great, and follow up what we’ve come to expect from Span perfectly. “Better Believe It” is an awesome song, without a doubt the best on the CD. It’s even better than a lot of stuff on Mass Distraction. For most of the song, anyway. It’s just that the last bit changes tone completely. That’s no big though, cause it’s still a great song. After that come “Cut Like Diamonds” and “The Outside”, which are also great. No problems here. It’s all great so far, but you’re about to get shocked and bored if you’re expecting another Mass Distraction.

The next song, “I’m One Of Us”, is not bad, but it’s just kind of… So what? There’s nothing special about it. It’s slow and boring. Doesn’t make you want to sing along or even leave an impression in your mind. “Living in a Suitcase” helps the situation by at least being a good song to rock out to. It’s another one that’s nothing special, but it’s a fun song to listen to. But that’s about the end of anything good I have to say. Mind you, I want to take it easy on these guys (like everything I review), so I’m probably gonna be trying to soften the blow of the words that will follow this paragraph. I’ll just say this now; the rest of the CD is very bland and you’d probably just be better off downloading it if you really want it. Even if a store did get a few copies in around here, there’s a slim chance that I’d actually pick it up.

“I’m Nothing” is just too slow, and ends up being really annoying, as he drags the notes way too much. Ever heard “The Rat Who Would Be King” by Matthew Good? It’s like that, but not quite so drawn out. And this song doesn’t get better the more you listen to it either. “Sea” is just short and lame. Actually, in this instance, that shortness turns out to be a plus. “Nowhere To Be Found” is a little better, but lacks anything to define itself, and ends up sounding like one of those songs they play every two hours on the radio that has no substance but is there because the media wants you to like it. The next song, “When I Fall”, would be a waste if it weren’t for the decent chorus.

Hitting the home stretch (and you’ll be glad it’s almost over), “Room For One” is alright, but it’s got the same issue as the rest of them. It’s just so dull and subdued. The last song, however “Wish it Would Rain” is pretty good after it gets going. Good enough to play independently from the rest of the tracks. And that’s more than enough to put it above a good three quarters of the other songs. The thing about it, is that unlike every other song on the CD, it actually conveys a little emotion. Not like the songs of Jimmy Eat World’s Futures do, but you can feel a little something from this song. Also some excellent guitar riffs. There’s a hidden track here too, but it’s shameful to actually call it a track, as it’s mostly just ambiance. Kinda stupid, and definitely skippable.

And that’s it. Pretty much summarizes the whole jist of it. A sad display for the most part, but with it’s high points. Maybe it’s just because I like Mass distraction so much that I don’t want to be open to any other sound they might try? Nah. Vs. Time is a (mostly) boring album. “Better Believe It” is super catchy and I highly recommend it and “Cut Like Diamonds”, but other than those, I can’t say it’d be worth buying. Even downloading seems like a waste of bandwidth (and it took me a good week at less than 1KB/s to secure this one). I can’t in good conscience give this one anymore than a D-. Just barely a passing grade. It makes baby Jesus cry (in pity, because he knows that Span is far better than this).

The Good Stuff:
  • Starts with a wicked track
  • Ends with a wicked track
  • The Bad Stuff:
  • Mostly everything in the middle is forgettable
  • Pales in comparison to Mass Distraction
  • The hidden track is shitty ambiance

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