It’s been the best part of nine long years since The Spill Canvas released a full-length album. However, last month, the South Dakota rockers announced their signing with Pure Noise Records and the inevitable release of the album Conduit.
When talking about the upcoming release, frontman Nick Thomas said: “We’re beyond ready to present our 6th LP, Conduit, to the world. Created in the rural woods of Pennsylvania over the span of a couple of years, we feel it’s our most comprehensive work to date.”
The question is, does it live up to that lofty claim? Well, the album starts with ‘Architects’, a good enough opener that sets the tone for what we are to expect quite well. Lyrically we are told that “each and every one of us are architects / It’s hard to design a death that we can live with.” This theme reoccurs in the album; how our journeys are mapped out by our own life experiences. It’s onwards and upwards from here on in, though, as two of the stand-out tracks on this album come in right near the beginning of the record.
The vocals on the chorus of ‘Firestorm’ are exquisite as Thomas sings, “And I don’t commonly melt like this when we kiss / Under a firestorm rippling through the air / I swear nothing will compare,” and it’s catchy as hell. The only thing catchier is the next track, ‘Darkside’, which excels musically and lyrically. It’s dark, sexy, and slick all at the same time, especially that guitar solo.
Once the album is finished, maybe put ‘Darkside’ on repeat for a little while after all, as Thomas tells us in the closing line, “A little self-indulgence never hurt anyone.” Moving on to ‘Calendars’, we are presented with a poppier and lighter sound and upbeat jolly holiday from previous sounds. For a quick few seconds, you think we’re in for more of the same in the next song, ‘Blueprints’.
We are quickly shaken out of that assumption and led into a world of grief and substance abuse. Undoubtedly inspired by the loss of Thomas’ mother and his own struggles with addiction. If we are the architects, then the blueprints are perhaps just the first stage in knowing what direction to take in our life journeys. In this story, however, the blueprints are of no use in his grief.
Lyrically Thomas deals with many a difficult subject, none more so than in ‘Gallon’, which sounds like an ode to suicidal ideation. Or more precisely, the fight against it. “I believe there’s something more to me / another layer that my bloodshot eyes cant see / and if I’m being honest, my faith is mainly trickery / I just need to keep repeating this, so the gallon stays within my wrist,” Thomas sings. He also tells us, “I hear myself convince myself to try / Yet still I kind of wanna die.”
In contrast, the romantics out there will really appreciate the rather sweet offering ‘Molecules’, a love song penned by Thomas to his wife, Sarah. The track boasts guest vocals from Sherri DuPree-Bemis and is littered with pretty little lyrical gems, including: “You complete my circuitry”, “You bring my focus into frame”, “You came along, and you lit up the world”, and, “I want your ecstasy in my spine.” Acoustically driven, it’s perfect for those love song Valentine mixtapes that have been depreciated by technology but exist in the minds of old-school emo kids everywhere.
Finally, the title track closes out the album weirdly; it doesn’t seem to quite fit at the end. It’s almost as if there is more to come. Perhaps this is because the album was billed as the start of a second phase for the band, although the band’s purpose remains the same. That is to write songs that move people and to be able to connect with them, which they have succeeded in doing here. The album drops on Friday, March 5, via Pure Noise Records. This is one to buy as the occasional stream is not enough; fans and new listeners alike will want to own this record.