For those not familiar with Spottiswoode & His Enemies, here is a quick rundown. They are a New York based band led by Jonathan Spottiswoode, and they have been making music together for over a decade. They also have five acclaimed albums under their belt, including their latest release “Wild Goosechase Expedition,” an ambitious 17-track voyage that could be considered a rock opera with a classic twist.
It’s difficult to try and pinpoint the exact musical styling of Spottiswoode & His Enemies. Each track possesses a different influence – cruising around from Dylan to the Beatles. But at no point does this become a distraction. Instead, when carefully fitted together as a whole, it makes for a powerful platform to showcase beloved rock (or what it used to be before the 80s corrupted the genre). And with the ebb and flow of inspiration from past musicians, Spottiswoode offers a piece that can be remembered when others begin to revisit the style and sound.
Besides effortlessly arranging an eclectic set of tracks, “Wild Goosechase Expedition” tells the story of a rock band’s venture on tour that is ill-fated from the start. The album starts off with sunny “Beautiful Monday” and quickly heads straight into its troubled narrative. Hopeful “Happy or Not” tries to focus on the upside of touring, while the protagonist questions the direction his life is taking. “I’d Even Follow You to Philadelphia” is a piano driven track that jumps into the woebegone tale of the one that got away. And “Wake Me Up When It’s Over” drums up an epic sendoff to a life on tour.
After listening to the album several times through, I couldn’t help but think that this should have been the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous.” Much like the film, “Wild Goosechase Expedition” is a bleak chronicle of trying to keep a dream alive and survive each hurdle. The album ends with “You Won’t Forget Your Dream,” in which the fearless leader has nearly come full circle but with far more insight than before.
All in all, “Wild Goosechase Expedition” is an exploration worth tagging along for.