Spun Out make their case for Chicago indie-pop canonizationLeor Galilon August 20, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Ne-Hi formed in 2013 and subsequently became one of the most revered Chicago indie-rock bands of the decade. The four-piece called it quits in May 2019, but I imagine their reputation will only keep growing–partly because all four members continue to play in remarkable groups. Jason Balla always juggled a few projects while in Ne-Hi, chief among them postpunk trio Dehd, which he’s helped lead since 2016; their recent Flower of Devotion is one of the most celebrated indie albums of 2020. The rest of Ne-Hi–Mikey Wells, James Weir, and Alex Otake–re-emerged last summer as Spun Out, molding a dance-friendly indie pop that draws on 1980s UK postpunk and leaves a lot of room for synth flourishes. Their new debut album, Touch the Sound (Shuga), also bears the influence of the Madchester scene; the exquisite piano melody and hypnotic percussion on “Off the Vine,” for instance, make it sound like a long-lost Screamadelica outtake. But Spun Out transcend mere pop bricolage–they can adapt their fluid style to whatever grabs them. And as you’d expect from a band with this pedigree, the hooks on Touch the Sound are ironclad. v

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