Spitfire - Cult Fiction (Goodfellow Records)
By: Zak Browne
[8/10]Listening to Spitfire’s second release for Goodfellow Records, Cult Fiction, got me excited and exhilarated. Reading comments from the band’s friends on its myspace page made me depressed. From what I could glean from the vast majority of the postings I read, it seems that not only is Spitfire not touring in support of this album, they just may have ceased to exist. Say it ain’t so, guys! Everything: the performances, songs, and even the CD’s packaging-about Cult Fiction indicates it’s a first-class effort. This album deserves to be toured and heard wherever Spitfire has the ways and means to get there, not just the band’s hometown of Virginia Beach.
Cult Fiction’s only weakness, and I’m quibbling, is the number of instrumental interludes that do nothing but slow down the tremendous momentum that is built up through such raging tracks as the double-barreled opening of “Arrhythmia Drift” and “Chemo Therapist.” I wish bands would knock off the tuneless droning. If I need to take a leak during the middle of a CD spin, I’ll hit the pause button. In any case, the former, written by vocalist/keyboardist Jonathan Spencer, drummer Chris Raines, and guitarist/bassist Dan Tulloh, and the latter, written by the aforementioned three as well as guitarist Matt Beck, perfectly summarize the relentlessly raw journey the listener is about to take. On the opener, Jonathan mocks the youth-obsessed upper class with the couplet, “Bi-curious husbands with seven-year itches A nip and a tuck and you’ll have me in stitches.”
The album’s artwork is truly part of the listening experience, and if the comments on Spitfire’s myspace page are accurate, the depiction of man with the MTV logo for a head holding what appears to be a giant drill on the page for the track “Crossed” may provide the required insight as to the cause of the band’s dissolution. I feel that Spitfire is frustrated with the cable behemoth’s decision to televise one ridiculous reality show after another instead of new music programming. Perhaps fittingly, “Crossed’s” lyrics include, “You were always just a hack with a butcher’s touch…Just a free ride and a big scam I’ve been crossed out.” If that doesn’t echo the attitude towards MTV by all true musicians and music fans, I don’t know what does.
Another example of the CD’s great artwork is the Darwinian march of ape to man underneath McDonalds’s golden arches for the track “Meat Maker.” I have to presume that Spitfire is sounding a call for vegetarianism with such couplets as, “A soul’s exit from a food source is quick, painless, and without force.”
Spitfire is a band to support, and if they are not going to tour, the best way to give them support is to listen to Cult Fiction. If enough people listen, maybe the boys in the band will hear the clamor for their work to be heard live.