Spiraling first hooked fans and critics with its masterful debut Transmitter, then with its spirited follow-up, Challenging Stage. On the strength of these recordings, as well as a live show that is at once airtight and explosive, the New Jersey natives forged a reputation for uncommon musical sophistication. But it is on its forthcoming release, Time Travel Made Easy, that Spiraling makes its most coherent and compelling statement to date.
If there were any band that could make time travel look easy, it would have to be Spiraling. There's always been something about the band's trademark interplay of synthesizers, powerful guitars, and piano-driven rock that goes deeper than mere nostalgia. Listening to Time Travel Made Easy, with its panorama of sonic landscapes, you almost get a sense that Spiraling actually has perfected some method of time travel, one that has allowed it to go back to a time when New Wave was actually new, before "prog" became a four-letter word, and when "alternative" was more than just a facile marketing cliché.
While evoking the best of music's past, Spiraling is undoubtedly a band with a strong vision for its future. Whatever method of time travel they've devised, it definitely works in both directions, and they've used it to skip ahead and check out what the kids of the next generation will have on their iPods, or whatever they'll be using in the days to come. However you classify it, the style of rock music they've brought back with them is powerfully moving and altogether original.
On the album's opening track, songwriter and frontman Tom Brislin laments that "this is not the future we were promised". That may be, but the remaining tracks on this inspired record are proof that, though the immediate future might not bring us jet packs or flying cars, it will still have room enough for passion, hope, redemption, beauty, and love.
And great music.