A cheesy, nasal introduction to album opener 'Lens Life' suddenly metamorphoses into a spectacularly bright bass-and-drum interplay. This eruption pretty much captures the pulse of the record in a nutshell, as Spud in the Box (just 'Spud' from hereon in) constantly play around with conventional structural and generic definitions of alternative/pop-rock music to create a really quite impressive debut record, titled, aptly, Attention Please. A resilient and intricate rhythm section and some crafty chops on the guitars and keys form a fluid backbone to the dual-vocal hook-filled delivery that essentially drives Spud forward.
Of course, before I get too effusive, I should warn readers that Spud, just like Anakin Skywalker or something and the Mahabharata's Karna, have a terrible dark side. It's a side they showcase only on the last bit of the closing track, 'More than Once', as they resort to almost Bollywood-esque and vey typically Hindi-rock vocals toward the end. They sound a lot like Jal, to be honest. And one Jal in the world is more than enough.
But I'm essentially just nitpicking; they're young, it's a debut album, and blah-blah. The band has actually delivered four very persuasive and crackerjack songs in this short EP to signal their arrival in indie consciousness – each song shuttles around gracefully through myriad moods and tenderly sculpted emotions, held together through the harmony-heavy vocals. In fact, it becomes difficult to pigeonhole the music into any specific category of manufactured rock music – the maturity of the compositions takes precedence over everything else on the record.
Most surprisingly, despite using the keys as just a regular instrument in the mix and not as a coolio facilitator of sounds – I really hate the conventional usage of keys because of that pale and feeble timbre it brings – these guys still manage to make them sound more than bearable through a sensitive and clever approach: The introduction to 'Train of Thought', with its dreamy flourish of notes on the keyboard, is one such example.
Like most young bands, Spud too betray some of their influences a little too eagerly – the double-vocal harmonies faintly reminiscent of Alice in Chains at times, as also the guitars, while the primary guitar hook on 'Train of Thought' is essentially an unfortunate Ctrl C – Ctrl V of Bends/OK Computer Radiohead, but these are fairly minor grievances on a record that offers a great deal, and the fact that it's a debut makes it all the more exciting, as one would expect these guys to further and more deeply explore territories that they've touched upon in Attention Please. And the shuffling, classically-tinged piano conclusion to the record is just the cherry on top.