Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vinyl Review: Spooner – Wildest Dreams

Note: This review originally appeared as a From The Vault feature in the Illinois Entertainer.

Long before Butch Vig emerged as a high-profile producer and member of the caustic rock band, Garbage, he was performing catchy pop songs with the Madison Wisconsin quintet, Spooner. Back in 1985, Vig, along with Garbage guitarist Duke (then Doug) Erikson, crafted a power pop masterpiece that unfortunately has gone undiscovered for over a decade. Spooner’s ambitious sophomore effort, Wildest Dreams, eclipsed their promising debut, Every Corner Dance, with more depth and engaging melodies.

Lead vocalist-guitarist Erikson was the mastermind behind the album, writing all 10 songs, but Vig co-produced and provided a steady backbeat on the drums. Spooner brought a distinct Midwest flavor to Wildest Dreams, particularly on the intense romance of “The Rainy Days” and deceptively perky “This Town’s On Fire.” The heart-breaking “Woman Out Of Time,” which opened with Erikson asking, “Whatever happened to summer?” was another highlight. All the tracks were woven into a tapestry that foreshadowed the Americana movement that would arrive in the mid-1990s.

Vig and Erikson later made their mark producing and performing with other bands, but in a way, their Wildest Dreams went unfulfilled.   

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