I thought it'd be a lot tougher coming up with things to talk about, and yet, here I am, coming at ya with another mediocrity from the 90's. I kid, of course. Nothing Makes Sense Without It is, to put it mildly, an odd entry in the prolific output from Kind of Like Spitting. It's also probably the most fondly remembered (or at least home to the most requested songs) in my recollection. While this album is still available via iTunes and the Liberation Records webstore, I recall Ben Barnett telling me that he had some serious royalty issues with the label who released the CD initially. As in, he hadn't seen a cent in royalties. But I hear that was a constant issue with releases on the Liberation family of labels.
Enough gossip and shit talk. I always felt like Ben Barnett was one of the few unrecognized greats to come out of the Great Emo Revolution of the late 90's. Every record he recorded is unarguably great. However, outside of opening for Braid on their last tour, a later fantastic record that came out on Barsuk and an opening slot with Saves the Day on their first headlining tour, I think a lot of the listening public just missed the boat. Could it be due to the somewhat-schizophrenic nature of Ben's releases? After all, the follow-up to Northing Makes Sense..., Old Moon in the Arms of the New, harkened more to Karate & Low than the Get Up Kids. Is it possible that relative commercial success and a spot in Alternative Press eluded Mr. Barnett due to him following his muse, no matter what the path? Is Kind of Like Spitting the Raging Bull of emo? Or did I just stay up way too late last night?
Here on Nothing Makes Sense..., the Braid & Mineral influences meld neatly with Ben's obvious singer-songwriter talents. Tip of the cap goes to Jamie Arthurs for the initial play of the Birds of a Feather 7" (released on Bob Nanna's Grand Theft Autumn label), which made me go apeshit before some St. Andrew's show back in '99. I felt like this had a chance to be a great crossover...it felt so goddamned important and adult. And this kind of heartbreak...well, it actually felt more approachable than a Smiths song. Plus I'd never heard violins used to such great effect on an indie record. Like some future stereotype, Nothing Makes Sense... is maudlin and beautiful.
I'm sure I'll write more about Kind of Like Spitting in the future. But, for now, listen and enjoy.
Kind of Like Spitting - Nothing Makes Sense Without It
RIYL: Billy Bragg, Belle & Sebastian, Death Cab for Cutie
...the thing we do instead of the things we're supposed to do...