We are going to play a quick game of word association. When I say “wussy piano rock,” what do you think of? Elton John, you say? That’s cute. Now, think of someone incapable of writing with the fervor of “The Bitch Is Back.” Coldplay? That’s a good one. Now, think of something without the ability to write sweeping epics like “Viva La Vida” or “Paradise.” Five for Fighting? There we go. That is more along the lines I was thinking, that really cheesy adult alternative contemporary. Can you name another band like that? Keane? Sure. Augustana? Yup. Well, now add Simon Spire to that litany.
Spire releases his latest EP, No Solid Ground advanced of his sophomore album, Four-Letter Words which will be released later this year. The EP shows off Spire’s more or less generic songwriting. It kicks off with “Liberate Your Love,” which sounds like Weird Al covering Jack’s Mannequin.
“No Solid Ground” is the slow jam of the EP with its minimalistic R&B beat and hotel lounge piano work. Spire attempts his most emotive vocals on the track but his voice is not classically emotional. Instead it has a quirky quality that would make it perfect for tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Unfortunately, Spire shows no sense of irony or wit at any point in time on the EP. Without a sense of insouciance, No Solid Ground feels like nothing more than Muzak.