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MP3 spread - the transition

This sound is like sitting on a country porch holding a firecracker, circling the moon with a stampede of horses.

17 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Psychedelic, ROCK: Progressive Rock

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"The Transition" by Spread (2004)

Just as your head begins to drift swiftly and heavily downward toward your unfinished bowl of cereal - no doubt in response to the plethora of mediocrity in music surrounding you in the form of overly sampled hip-hop, borrowed and boring ''70s remakes, and rap metal repetition - out comes the honest to goodness rock of "The Transition" by Spread.

Within the first few seconds your head will rise curiously from the depths of the milk and corn flakes, turning inquisitively toward the sounds caressing the airwaves. "Upon the Happening of Everything" serves as a wakeup call: music can be simple yet engrossing, delicate yet intense. As you sit there transfixed by the encounter, the raw power and pummeling intensity of "Light Silver Automatic" quickly follows. The layers of psychedelic rock rippling from its core, this muscle track reminds you that Spread must be felt as well as heard.

Luckily, "Curse" swiftly enters the sonic chamber next, just in time for you to catch your breath and ease back into your cozy chair. The supple acoustic strings dance with one another. It''s as if the Monkees wrote a song for the Willy Wonka soundtrack and before you know it, you''ve risen from your chair and find yourself walking briskly down the street twirling a cane. Yet somehow it''s more serious and focused than the description would suggest by way of the lyrical reflection on relationship evolution, sanctity, and turmoil.

"Marbles" follows with the bright guitars of a "Blood Sugar Sex Magik"-era cut from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. What it lacks of their funk it provides by way of foot-stomping intensity. However, just as you pummel the soles of your shoes against the concrete, the murderous rage of "Depthgauge" is upon you, circling you like a stalker on a dark night. Whispers of impending doom flow directly from the viola, swirling through the abrasive guitars. Remmy does have a place, perhaps in your basement . . .

In one fell swoop, your emotions are set free to perhaps the most direct pop song of the album, "Superdraft." This time the viola lifts your lips into a smile like a snake charmer, allowing you to drift in and out of your acoustic dream. As Ray Charles-inspired electric piano cradles the melody, the bridge from regret to forgiveness now seems clear.

Not since Radiohead''s "OK Computer" have you heard the celestial blips, echoes, and delays of Spread''s "Pulsar." They are a welcome return. As you slip into your astronaut gear and slide behind the wheel of this sonic spaceship, you quickly encounter the outer stars bursting and dripping about you. And just as you hit warp speed, you are transported to a dance club, thumping and sweating among the closed eyes of your fellow travelers. As the sonic aftermath dissipates, the thumping continues; "Poz" could make even Thomas Dolby convulse around like a mad scientist, as he did so wonderfully during the days of early MTV. With frenzy as your guide, you are forced to remind yourself, "I''m not paranoid if they really are after me."

The sole drumless track of the album comes by way of "Echo," a song informed by Coldplay''s "Clocks," R.E.M.''s classic album "Automatic for the People," or the Cure''s "Inbetween Days." Yet it stands on its own as a testament to the indisputable charm of a single guitar and a piano, left alone to determine the course of the echo of silence left by a loved one who may someday return.

Continuing the theme of uncertainty in love and a quest for deeper connections, "Drop Dead Love" gently joins the mix. As if it was written on a rickety country porch, Spread forays into the closest thing this album sees to country music yet masterfully trickles in a solo, muted trumpet. The horn calls out to you as if you are ships passing in the night or two strangers acknowledging each other with a subtle wink.

"The Rainfall" crisply follows, combining island percussion with clean electric jazz-twinged guitar. An urban bass line unbuttons your shirt a bit, just enough to allow the breeze to cool your skin. And as the title "The Rockers" might suggest, there is but one direction to go next.

Not since Pearl Jam''s "Corduroy" or Jane''s Addiction''s "Ain''t Nobody Leaving" has a rock song rocked quite like "This Was Love." The opening crash leads you back into the street, intent on leaping at the last remnants of passion left there to be taken. No longer content to accept that which may come your way, you are now prepared to go and get it. With a middle section releasing memories of early Sunny Day Real Estate, this rockfest ends with the ferocity with which it started, scraping intensely into "Channeling the Celestial Bodies." "Channeling" prods you into looking toward the sky, exploring your place in the universe, among thunderous claps of distortion, pulverizing anything in its way like a 50-foot wave reaching the shore.

"Anvil Ease" follows and forces you to grab your high black boots and spiked bracelet and to pump your fist in the air. The pure punk beginning is interrupted for a spell by the sounds of a clear piano and the last glimpse of that charming viola. But just as you float about the inner mind of the forsaken, you''re ripped through the chamber of rock into a climactic array of meteoric bombast. Keep your seat belt fastened.

"The Moon Over Racine" closes the record with a moving and direct bluesy tribute to companionship. Gone is the crash-boom-bang, which has been replaced by the clear-clean-smooth. It is as gentle and rewarding an ending as might be imagined. And it lowers you softly back into your breakfast chair, only now you are not disillusioned by the lack of originality in prevalent music but instead you are hungry for more of this momentous rock experience.

Taste it now.

--Kram Productions (April 2004)


Spread is like sitting on a country porch while holding a firecracker . . . circling the moon with a stampede of horses. It is not rap-metal retreads, or ''70s re-mixes, or over-sampled techno babble. It is rock. It is crispy, warm, and heavy. It is yours.

The four-piece band was formed several years ago in the fledgling rock scene in Charleston, Illinois, where Spread''s founding members, Mark Doherty and Eric Lax, were mere lads at Eastern Illinois University. Upon graduation, the band graduated to the Chicago scene, where it makes its home today. Thereafter, Spread followed in the inventive yet direct connections it had made with its fellow grunge youth. Spread parlayed its early success into two self-produced albums released to energetic responses, if not geographic diversity.

Joined by percussionist Eric Carson and bassist Shane Davies, Spread has now taken its blend of psychedelic muscle rock and acoustic clarity and created "The Transition," an astro rock album aptly titled as the band has moved from forceful yet fraternity-like rock ''n roll to more layered, gut-grabbing, and emotional endeavors. Moreover, the band has opened itself to the many influences that inform its principal songwriters. Pianos, Moog keyboards, viola, and trumpet all find their way into the mix, as each song takes its turn delving into themes such as our openness toward our companions, our place in the vast universe, and our ability to approach our relationships with honesty, whatever the cost.

The result is an album that inspires echoes of the best of progressive rock of the last decade yet it forms a new alliance with more traditional music forms, at times including jazz-twinged guitars, lounge bar horns, and back country blues. The textures are sometimes subtle, sometimes bold, but never overproduced. And the heartfelt sincerity in the goodness of all things rock never wanders from the soundscapes surrounding the listener.

Spread is now playing and booking shows in Chicago (and hopefully, soon, beyond). Although "The Transition" is an honest and engrossing example of the band and its music, perhaps there is no substitute for seeing Spread live and in the flesh. Check out what some concertgoers have had to say about their Spread experiences:

"The show was awesome. The Firebird and SG were incredible. ''This was Love'' was my favorite of the night. And some girls made out, completing the festivities. Spread shows are always great." (M.E.)

"The show at the Bottom Lounge was OUTSTANDING!!! I''m looking forward to seeing you at the Wise Fool''s Pub next Thursday!! Only one request-Turn Up The Vocals!! You have such good lyrics, I just wish I was able to hear them better!! But anyway...you guys rock!" (Girl Next Door)

"First time to see Spread last nite. Thought I''d give you some props on your gig. Nice work, gentlemen. Really enjoyed it." (Dave)

"Fantastic gig on Sat. Better each time I see you. I''m bringing even more peeps next time." (Dan)

"Great show Saturday. Good stage presence, strong songs." (Fantom)

"It was a good time and everyone was very impressed with the music. It''s fun to see how much you guys develop and grow each time I come out." (Feedback)

"Wise Fools Pub: You guys kicked ass. The sound was great, and you were very tight. ''This Was Love'' rocked harder than I''ve heard it in the past." (Spreading the Love)

"laud have mercy !!!!!!!!!!!" (Fu Yong)

"a friend brought me along to the show at the elbo room, and it rocked...hard. hope to see another show soon, but i live in iowa." (Kyle)

Spread is:
Mark Doherty (vocals, guitar)
Eric Lax (guitar, vocals)
Eric Carson (drums)
Shane Davies (bass)


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