Spayed Koolie offer up a quality collection of songs on this album Ashtray Change. The music is smooth with clear-cut rhythms and an organic, Americana-infused pop aura that reaches out in an all-inclusive manner. 100 Years (Need) kicks things off with warmth and heart and all of the above. The band’s leading vocalist has a lovely voice, naturally carrying each melody through with just a flicker of grit to keep things emotional yet real. With this project you get rock and roll, folk rock, soul, and a whole host of other valuable elements that make it a joy to turn up loud.
Throughout the rest of the playlist, the vocals remain on point regardless of subject matter or intensity. We Ain’t Blind is superb, a fantastic melody – particularly the hook – brings through something of a crisp, modern day Eagles approach, perhaps with a little more weight. You Know follows and is a personal favourite – the stripped back intro adds a level of intimacy and realness that makes it feel like a private live show, the later build up hits with impact thanks to this and to the impressive stop and start nature of the whole piece.
Another highlight, perhaps for its nostalgic properties but also for the humble, organic presentation of it, is the band’s take on an absolute classic – the brilliant, Brown Eyed Girl. An easy, comforting listen. Stoney Cove picks up the pace afterwards with swagger-ful guitar riffs and a manically energizing performance from the drummer. The story-line works in this song’s favour too, providing one of the most interesting threads of lyricism – drawing you in and holding your attention until the end.
Just after the mid-way mark, Songwriter is – and rightfully so – a brilliant song. The organic, fire-side warmth remains, and with this you get the honesty, the first-hand perspective, the passion, and just some gorgeously united building blocks. It’s subtle but it hits, and it’s easy to play on repeat for the way the melody and the concept flow through. The album’s title track follows and sheds light on the central idea. The emotion is heavy and wonderfully portrayed on this track.
As the playlist nears its end, a few more crucial glimmers of hope and possibility shine brightly. Today is the Day marks a beautiful example, there’s sadness and strength intertwined here, something like a reinvention of the Verve’s songwriting style – The Drugs Don’t Work days. There’s purity – the strings, the acoustic guitar, the harmonized vocal parts, the space; a big moment marked by a stunning musical set-up. Another Day is equally uplifting and fuses raw energy with a laid back, enjoy-the-good-times sentiment. The perfect way to finish the experience.