- Spiv U:K, Quietly Falling to Pieces, 2012, Independent
This release marks the fourth long-player for these Woodstock purveyors of textured British psychedelica. The unusual band moniker is intriguing, but also somewhat misleading. Various sources of British slang refer to a spiv as a somewhat disreputable individual, living by his or her wits and often dealing on the black market. Although this is likely a tongue-in-cheek analogy to the hustling lifestyle of the working musician, it certainly does not reflect the bright production, sturdy songwriting, and warm arrangements of this quartet. Comprised of British ex-pats Sham Morris (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Tom Newton (bass) and stateside compatriots John Gullo (lead guitar) and Chris Morgan (drums), Spiv's members certainly have a collectively distinguished musical pedigree, with previous collaborators such as Mick Ronson, Nicky Tesco of the Members, active contributions to the early '80s punk/new wave scenes of London and the Lower East Side, and even a stint at the legendary Creative Music Studio jazz workshop. This accumulated history and knowledge richly imbues Quietly Falling to Pieces with a generous sonic landscape bearing repeated listening. One touchstone is the whimsical lyricism of early Pink Floyd, which comes through winningly on the nursery rhyme-gone-kaleidoscope beat of "Aunty Petunia." A harder psychedelic guitar sound and band dynamic give the album a rousing outro on the closing numbers, "How Can I Love You?" and "Whatcha Gonna Do About It." Spivuk.com.