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The Critics Corner: Albums
The Spill Canvas- Formalities
Band returns to acoustic roots in grand fashion on sophomore effort

Name: "Formalities"
Label: Reprise/WMG
Release Date: July 26, 2010
My rating: 4.7 out of 5

Review written by: Ashley Rosenberg

The Spill Canvas is a four piece band that started as just one. Nick Thomas started the band alone when he was fifteen. A few years later, Dan Ludeman, Landon Heil, and Joe Beck joined him to create what we now know as The Spill Canvas. They released their first album, No Really, I'm Fine, back in 2007. Formalities, the band's second full length album is both a look back to the band's original acoustic roots, and a show of evolution to their eclectic rock sound.

The album starts off with Dust Storm, is a unique sounding track about uncertainty and longing for things to be clear.

Our Song slows the album down again with an almost acoustic song about a couple whose relationship does not fit the ideal mold. I think that this was my favorite track on the whole album; it was unique and very relatable as the couple's story is real instead of story-book fantasy.

Track three, As Long As It Takes, is a soulful, mellow track about being there for someone who you care about through their highs and lows. The drums on this track make it unique and soothing; the song almost feels like someone is there, wrapping you in security.

10,000 Midnights adds another acoustic sounding song to the mix. This song is about the memory of someone that has not been let go yet.

Track five is a seductive rock song brought to life by guitars and percussion. Good Graces, Bad Influences is a song about mischievous seduction, the vocal stylings of this song push the feeling of seduction from just a lyrical sentiment to an overall feeling.

The Bone is the heaviest song on this album; it's rock sounds and electric guitar complement the anger in the song. You can almost feel the frustration expressed by the lyrics through electricity.

Track seven is an acoustic reprise of Dust Storm. This version seems to have more meaning than the version that introduced the album; its harmonies and raw instrumentals really taking the song to another level.

Crash Course is about the unavoidable cycle of love that everyone goes through in trying to find the one that they belong with.

The ninth track is a softer version of Our Song with little touches of rock added in; the vocals in this version perfectly complement the song and its story.

Don't Let Your Enemies Become Friends adds a rock edge to the album. This song provides a perfect juxtaposition to most of the songs on this album as it expresses the regret and aftermath of a less than perfect relationship.

The album is brought to a close with an acoustic version of As Long As It Takes. This rendition is slower and beautiful and only intensifies the feelings of love and trust conveyed in the lyrics of the song.

There is a lot of honesty in this album. The lyrics are very true, deep, and the feelings are relatable. Each song has its own unique piece to it which show the creativity and talent that separates The Spill Canvas from other comparable bands. The mix of acoustic and rock makes this album flow in a way that works for The Spill Canvas. The sincere lyrics will remind you of different relationships in your life and the different ways that they made you feel. The lyrics in this album don't hide anything, but tell the sentiments of these feelings in a tasteful but real way. This combined with the vocals and sounds really make the listener feel the songs.
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