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Album Review

Spanning a career of fringe rock releases and rhythm section revisions, Spoor gathers 15 musical oddities from Davis, CA's Thin White Rope. Wearing their influences on their sleeve, the quartet stumble through a grab bag of covers both obvious (the Velvet Underground's "Here She Comes Now," the Stooges "Little Doll") and truly confounding ("God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," Tiomkin & Washington's "Town Without Pity"). At the collection's core is the group's 1988 tribute EP Red Sun. Unfortunately, of the handful of originals, only the demos for frontman Guy Kyser's "Red Sun" and "Tina and Glen" are up to the standards of the group's album material. The latter finds the band cutting loose on a light-hearted surf rave-up while the former is still better heard in it's album incarnation. Even the jagged edges of "Munich Eunich," however, are an improvement over many of the covers on hand. Removed from the live gig's setting of hot, tightly packed bodies, the feedback sprawl of the Stooges' "Little Doll" wears thin. Likewise, while a take on "Town Without Pity" may have seemed ambitious upon appearance in 1988, it boarders perilously close to parody territory with the passing years. There are some exceptions however: the James Bond theme "Man With the Golden Gun" suits Thin White Rope's desert noir sound just fine, and a take on Marty Robbins' "They're Hanging Me Tonight" has its moments, particularly when Kyser makes his way into the chorus. By the very nature of the collection however, Spoor is a fan issue, not the recommended initiation to the band's music.


Formed: 1984 in Davis, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Copping their name from William S. Burroughs' euphemism for ejaculation, Thin White Rope was founded in Davis, California in 1984. Although the time and place of their formation aligned them with both the Paisley Underground and roots rock movements, the group quickly staked out its own musical territory, divining their own unique brand of dark, surreal, desert rock. Thin White Rope was led by singer/guitarist Guy Kyser, whose harsh, tightly coiled vocals and unsettling lyrics combined to give the...
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Spoor, Thin White Rope
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