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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Album Review: Spirits Of The Dead – Spirits Of The Dead

Norway’s Spirits Of The Dead have clearly combined their love of 60s rhythms and 70s psychedelics with a fiercely contemporary take on blissed-out, wonderfully progressive rock that echoes bands like Wolfmother, Porcupine Tree and Dead Meadow. Employing echoing vocals, vibrantly upbeat drum patterns and heavily-fuzzed guitars, they twist and turn their way through a debut album that, the majority of which, they managed to bring together in just six productive days in an Oslo studio. Taking care to add and tighten up what they had meant they also spent time with Christian Engfeldt at Grand Sport Studios and also employed George Marino (Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix) to undertake the final mastering process at Sterling Sound in New York.

The variation of each track is impressively vast and is often to be found veering away suddenly mid-song. One minute we’re lurching from some summertime psych-flecked surf-pop (‘The Waves Of Our Ocean’) to a morbid dose of sludge-fuelled, burnt-out prog (‘Red’) with such lyrics such as “I ache for redemption / The river is red / As you ride me from my deathbed”. It certainly takes a few listens to get used to all of SOTD’s multiple personalities.

Standing out from the pack are the title-track itself and the opener ‘White Lady/Black Rave’. Amidst the dizzying downtempo wash of the former, lies a three-note riff heavy enough to raze skyscrapers, to level cities, nay, to crack the earth. So infectious is the groove, I found myself miming the game “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to it. No-fooling “Rock, Paper Scissors”. Fuck. The latter track is pure Doors. A rollicking rhythm jostles us along as a latter-day Ray Manzarek hammers at his Hammond to the sound of Jim Morrison howling piercingly, frazzled syllables from beyond the grave.

By digging deep into the history of music they manage to conjure up touches of The Grateful Dead, David Bowie, Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and even E.L.O. and these all spring to mind at different moments as you enthusiatically progress through the album. Almost inevitably, it gets you wondering on that band name. Did they actually set out to invoke the spirit of past, deceased musicians? Whatever their motif, the design is impeccable and, at this rate, they will surely be haunting us for many years to come.

Also online @ TLOBF = http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/2010/10/spirits-of-the-dead-spirits-of-the-dead/

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