Spatula rarely receive a mention when folks recount the burgeoning '90s heyday of the band's legendary locale of choice, Chapel Hill, NC. Not least of which I'm sure was due to limited distribution of their debut, Even the Thorny Acacia, and three more platters that followed later in the decade, all doomed to a similar fate. Nor could Spatula boast the moderately pop-friendly persuasion of figureheads Superchunk and Archers of Loaf. Were you to stack up Chuck Johnson & Co. with any of their hometown brethren the closest approximation you could come up with is Polvo, most evidently on Acacia's string-mangling "Yoohoo." Truthfully, I don't have a solid handle on the bulk of the Spatula oeuvre, but as of 1994, they (merely a duo on this record, I might add) were cautiously gravitating to post-rock environs, melding dissonance with mathy considerations, tracing a wildly uneven line between Seam, Slint, and a myriad of period artists in between. The sharpest hook, or perhaps more appropriately, 'thorn' amidst the dynamic clamor of Acacia, is "Thinking Like a Statue," which might pass for a thoughtful Pavement outtake, circa '94.
As of this writing, Chuck is touring the eastern seaboard in support of his recent solo endeavor, A Struggle Not a Thought. You can delve into a 2010 interview with the man over at Pitchfork. As for Spatula proper, two subsequent albums, Despina By Land and Under the Veil of Health are available from Squealer Music.
01. Minute Hand
03. Jules and the Termites
08. Laughing Like a Statue
09. Confessional Tutor
10. Even the Thorny Acacia
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