Veteran jam-poppers paint in muted neons
The decline of hippie-pop three-hit wonders the Spin Doctors from Top 10 to snorting punchline was swift, brutal and not entirely just. In the heady pre-dot-com years when funk-pop dominated radio and clubs alike, the Spin Doctors’ good-natured grooves co-existed logically with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Living Colour. On Nice Talking to Me, the first recording by the band’s original lineup in over a decade, little has changed, except that important context. The refrains are capital (the crunching “Sugar”), the cowbells strident (“Genuine”), the vibe Steve Miller-esque (“Tonight You Could Steal Me Away”). However, the jams are scant, and jilted-lover cynicism replaces innocent underdoggery. “I’m my own best friend, you’re your own Ophelia,” frontman Chris Barron croons cleverly on “I’d Like To Love You (But I Think You Might Be Crazy),” and the house band for MTV’s long-disappeared alternative nation never quite recaptures its once-irresistible neon spark.