A melodic and soulful hard-bopper, Ervin’s tenor sound on this album has a lot in common with Coltrane’s, but is generally more accessible. The tracks all swing, even if they don’t all push you back in your chair and insist on your undivided attention like the album’s opener does. A thoroughly enjoyable, though not quite essential, soul jazz record.
The Spoons were the postpunky standard-bearers of the Tallahassee scene, back when there was such a thing (so, I guess around 1990 or so)—and boy, did these guys love them some Husker Du. Of course, Bob Mould could actually sing; the Spoons never really overcome their shortcomings in that department, but they do manage to make them irrelevant in the context of a great record. The guitars grind all the way through, and while one could be forgiven for lumping them together with the then-nascent grunge scene, the songs deviate enough from the standard templates of the day (“Spaceman,” “#5”) to keep it interesting. Way more people should have bought this, if only to discourage Tallahassee from giving us Creed a decade later.