Published Dec 16, 2016The New Year hasn't started yet, but Pennsylvania outfit Spill have already gotten a head start on laying themselves out a promising path for 2017. As one of the latest signings on No Sleep — a label that's previously helped propel bands like the Wonder Years, Into It. Over It. and Balance and Composure into almost-mainstream popularity — Top Ten fits into the label's mix quite well. The same can be said for its timing, coming at the tail end of a year in which several breakthrough artists did a fantastic job of blurring the lines between punk, indie rock and emo.
Spill, who you'll probably see on a lot of packaged tours throughout the next year, capture the hooky, nostalgic rock of the Menzingers (singer Brandon Gepfer even recalls that band's Tom May at times) and the buzzy, imperfect pop-punk that places them in much the same arena as 2016 standouts like PUP, Joyce Manor and Jeff Rosenstock. Top Ten has a boisterous, infectious energy (when the chorus hits in "Can't Keep Cool," it's nearly impossible to resist its charm) and tonal and dynamic diversity; there are plenty loud and lively bits of '90s-style fuzz-rock, but Spill have the steady hands to move the dial up and down. "Keep Coming" has a cozy John Mellencamp feel with a fluttery flair, while more solemn tunes like "Turn Around" are more measured and moody, drawing parallels with groups like Basement and Title Fight.
The message of Top Ten is pretty simple: "Sometimes life sucks, but how about we make the best of it?" It's well-trodden territory, but it's enough for a solid set of sing-alongs. The album's called Top Ten because it has the ten best songs the band could write. That may have been true at the time — and these songs are quite good, some of them great — but it also feels like just the beginning for these up-and-comers. (No Sleep)