There are artists working in the rock and pop worlds that don’t write songs as much as they compose, orchestrate and arrange them.   The Spinto Band is one of these acts, placing quintet in rarified air occupied by the likes of Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney and BurtBacharach.  The latest proof is “Cool Cocoon,” a brilliant slice of pop craftsmanship, and arguably the group’s best album to date.

The rich, cinematic nature of the music is paired with a breakup theme that runs throughout and begins with “Shake It Off.”  It’s a relatively restrained tune, with a swoony bridge that provides some dynamic contrast to the crunchy verses and choruses.  “Amy + Jen” is Belle and Sebastian-esque dream pop with breezy harmonies built on a simple and insistent beat.

“What I Love” is signature Spinto Band, with a deceptively syncopated rhythm and handclaps, while “Memo” is relatively adventurous, with exotic percussion parroting a guitar lead.  The song wouldn’t sound out of place on Vampire Weekend’s latest, “Modern Vampires of the City.”

The heart of the album might be “She Don’t Want Me,” which opens in melancholic fashion before surprisingly jolting into classic Spinto Band pop frenzy, with handclaps, head-bopping rhythms and singsong oohs and ahhs.  “Static” is completely different, a 1950s-style guitar ballad flavored with ‘80s synthesizers.  “Enemy,” meanwhile, takes a trip to yet another decade with 12-string guitar creating gently rolling 1960s psychedelic flair.

The Spinto Band is prolific, and “Cool Cocoon” comes on the heels of 2012’s “Shy Pursuit.”  The quick turnaround, however, does not mean the band is spreading its material thin.  Rather, The Spinto Band seems to be not only generating a high number of songs, but more importantly, songs of the highest quality and appeal.

Some artists are, admittedly, an acquired taste, but it seems that the only reason to not like The Spinto Band, especially their latest record, is because you haven’t heard them yet.

Rating:  79/81

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