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Spotted Atrocious: The Team Players.

December 5, 2014

SpottedAtrocious02smallText by Brendan Menapace. Images by Michael Bucher.

Liam Tinney is soft-spoken and almost drowned out by the music at Spruce Street Harbor Park.  He intermittently takes sips from his beer while talking about the music that he and his friends make as the catchy indie rock band Spotted Atrocious. It’s fitting to talk here since so much of their material has been written close to water and usually over beers.

“After I graduated from college, I just said, ‘Let’s all take a week at Deep Creek Lake and just play,’” Tinney recalls of the trip to Maryland the band took in May to write new material and record demos, just as they had also done for their first release, Temporary Fix. “We jammed a lot, we made a lot of headway and we decided to do it again and pumped out some new songs. It was really natural this time, which was really satisfying.”

Despite the many area codes they possess, the bandmates identify primarily as a West Chester group. Formed by high school friends Tinney, Ryan Warfield and Mitchell Way, they later added West Chester University friends Mark Mullen and Chris Hall.

Tinney, lead guitarist and the group’s lone Philadelphian, says that Philadelphia is a tough market to play in as an outsider. But they’ve seen success in the city.

“Philly culture, which I really love, means that they won’t accept you that easily,” Tinney says.  “Even our sports teams are the same way as the bands. But it’s definitely been easier since I’ve moved here.”

Hall, the drummer, lives in West Chester but is happy to have friends in the city.

“Usually we’ve been able to get decent shows,” Hall says. “We’ve been able to get good spots because we have good connections in Philadelphia. We have friends there and that always helps with bringing people out.”

The band’s influences show brightly in their music. Riffy and layered guitar parts match melodic vocal hooks reminiscent of bands like Third Eye Blind, but there’s still swift and forceful rhythms that reflect Hall’s love of Metallica.

The guys in Spotted Atrocious know what works, what doesn’t work and how to write together efficiently.

“If it’s all five of us in a room, usually it’s one riff and we just jam on it until we have a song,” Tinney says. “Lyrics usually come later. Ryan writes most, but I write some and tell Ryan to change as he needs to, and Mark will write his own, too.”

Hall agrees that they’re all at their most productive when they can flow with one another.

“We thrive in a live setting, when we’re all together,” Hall says. “It’s just a lot easier to bounce back ideas and get feedback and try to piece it together.  We all write music for our band so we were able to bring a lot of ideas to the table.”

The quintet hopes to record the latest fruits of their labor  by the end of the year.

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