Now I'm assuming that if you are reading this review you already know who Butch Walker is and probably like his stuff. But if by some chance you do not own this man's entire catalog and have stumbled upon his latest record, "The Spade", well, then, this one's for you.
"The Spade" is not Butch Walker's finest record (two years on I still can't go more than a few days without listening to "I Liked You Better When You Had No Heart"), nor is it his weakest (sure, his record "The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let's Go Out Tonites" was fun the first few times, but I can't remember the last time I had a hankering to listen to it). But it's a fine addition to his catalog, and one of the best rock records of this year.
"Bodegas and Blood" features a catchy riff and excellent interplay with the band, while lead single "Summer of '89" is a loud, arena ready rocker with a hook that screams to be played loudly in your car on a Friday night. "Day Drunk" is another excellent inclusion in Walker's getting old song catalog, the sound building to a perfect simple chorus. "Dublin Crow" reminds me quite a bit of the White Stripes "Little Ghost" for some reason, but as that is one of my favorite songs by that band, I have no complaints about that. "Closest Thing To You I'm Gonna Find" is a beautiful song with a classic melody, something that seems to have existed since the seventies, while "Bullet Belt" sports a driving introduction into another one of those insanely good choruses.
The record stumbles occasionally. "Suckerpunch" is a little too "studio jam" for me, and "Sweethearts" never seems to get it's swagger right to me, though the backing vocals are pretty cool I must admit.
Production wise, like "I Liked It Better", "The Spade" is pretty loose, sounding like it was culled from the band all playing together at the same time rather than over thought, and by extension over produced. Lyrically Walker is still the same, writing anthems about his past mixed in with tales of life in Los Angeles or Walker's native home of Atlanta. Walker continues to grow stronger vocally with each record, which is terribly impressive, and the band simply kills on this record, easily the best collective to play with Butch since those long ago Marvelous 3 days.
"The Spade" is another excellent collection of songs from a guy who seems to just be able to do this easily. But the songs never seem easy or underwritten, which is a chief part of Walker's appeal to me. "The Spade" might nit quite meet "I Liked You Better", but it's still a record that you should purchase and give a shot. You will not be disappointed.