The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Review: “Now Here to Go” by Spin the Clouds

Contributed by Spin the Clouds
Spin the Clouds released their first EP on Thursday, February 5.

Grinnell College student band Spin the Clouds released their first Extended Play (EP) on Thursday, Feb. 5, titled “Now Here to Go.” The six-track assortment not only brings familiar campus concert songs right to you, but also shows that student music can be something more than a performance at a Harris party. 

“Now Here to Go” journeys through genres of bedroom pop to indie rock with three recorded originals, the first of which, “Looking Back,” opens the EP with a slow alternative tune that showcases the indie vocals of Elizabeth Clarkson `25. Her singing tapers off a little after two minutes when the guitar and drums pick up for about 30 seconds before a return to the beginning’s instrumental softness, ending on delicate keyboard notes by Collin Thomas-Green `26.

The six-track assortment not only brings familiar campus concert songs right to you, but also shows that student music can be something more than a performance at a Harris party.

— Krista Spies `24

This contrast of chill and lively tempos characterizes the EP, as the songs teeter between a slower jam like “Looking Back” and a head bopper like “bird song!” A listener may find it confusing to discern the overall feeling of the work, but the mix of feelings also could be seen as a good characterization of the way a college band operates — what better corresponds to encroaching adulthood than up-and-down mood swings?

I’ve seen Spin the Clouds at most of their performances and can say I have looked forward to “bird song!” the most each time. With Oliver Wolfe `25 and Clarkson trading off vocals in front of  a fun drum beat by Evan Hein `26, the song provides something I think is essential to a lot of music — danceability. One of my favorite moves from this band comes in the form of Hein’s quick drumming, ramping up the end of the song before an abrupt end that lets the concertgoer take a breath after moving around in the crowd. 

That being said, after having experienced the live version of “bird song!” the vocal production on the EP is a little disappointing and lets the energy down a bit. The musicians sound more confident in the later live track and seem to be having more fun. 

“Always Already Is” is the third recorded song, and it again lowers the energy of the overall work, similar to the first tune. Though this more acoustic track involves Clarkson’s inviting lilting vocals, which sometimes surprise you with guttural spaces, the song is a little boring in comparison to “Looking Back,” as the first track plays more with genre.

The next three pieces on the EP surround one live original which is sandwiched between its live introduction and epilogue. First, Wolfe prepares the audience for a new song in a track cutely called “talking.” The fifth track “no talking” demonstrates that a lot of music sounds better live, especially when the non-live songs are recorded quickly, as elements of this EP certainly were. With the energy of a crowd, the musicians sound more confident in comparison to the more nervous-sounding “birdsong!” recording. Additionally, Thomas-Green provides a stellar ‘80s synth sound that opens the track and returns around the three-minute mark to bring the song from an energetic indie rock to a dreampop sound. Finally, the EP ends with “Fluorescent Vibes.” This track combines sounds from after the show — including conversation about guitarist Wolfe’s bleeding fingers, who perhaps wants to flaunt the intense results of his playing — with lo-fi beats.

I would say that Spin the Clouds often sounds like your average, pop-rocky college band, with its trendy rhythms and accessible lyrics. “Now Here to Go” presents the group’s chill and boppy style, likely easy to appeal to the average Grinnell student. Aspects of their sound, like the keyboard synth on “no talking,” definitely add color to what is often the blandness of college indie rock. Overall, the energy of live performance is what gives the group its attraction.

Vocalists of the band, Clarkson and Wolfe, who also play electric guitar and bass, respectively, are currently studying off-campus, so fans of Spin the Clouds will be disappointed to hear that they will not be performing this semester. Thus, this EP strategically provides some substance while in live-playing hiatus.

Editor’s Note: Hein is a member of the S&B staff. He had no involvement in the writing or editing of this article.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Krista Spies, Arts Editor
Krista Spies is a fourth-year English and Spanish major from St. Louis, MO. She loves writing about the arts almost as much as getting tattooed, and she hopes to turn going to concerts into a full-time job.
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *