The first time I heard about Delta Spirit in anything but a passing comment was about six years ago. They were touring for their record Ode To Sunshine, and played a show at The M Shop in Ames where I was living at the time. I didn’t really know who they were, but the following morning I heard a report that the band’s gear had been stolen. Now that I live in Chicago, that seems very common, but at the time I was shocked that people would stoop so low. Fortunately the band was able to soldier on and maintain their faith in humanity.
Now they’re back with their first new record in a couple years, out tomorrow on Dualtone, called Into The Wide. It’s a very professional-sounding record, which works both in the band’s favor and against it. The one thing Delta Spirit is known best for is their live energy, and this album doesn’t quite capture that. On the other hand, the songs are so radio-ready that I’m sure it will garner a whole slew of new fans who somehow still discover new music over the airwaves.
Into The Wide features a lot of good songs, but my favorite is the second track “From Now On.” Following the pretty good but too Dr. Dog-ish opener, “Push It,” the album kicks into high gear with high-pitched guitar screams of Kelly Winrich’s guitar. Brandon Young’s drumming never sounds better than it does on this track, striking just the right balance of frenetic energy and restraint. The song never really takes its foot off the gas, and for the next few songs the same exuberance is present.
The final quarter of the album takes a tonal shift to a darker area. These songs put more emphasis on Matt Vasquez’s vocals and the quiet spaces in between the notes. “War Machine” is the highlight of this part of the album, which almost feels like an epilogue (but not in a bad way) following the other nine songs. The lyrics are simple but powerful: “War machine, you can’t break me, you can’t have the world I love.”
I got to hear Into The Wide on a beautiful piece of clear vinyl (2 pieces, actually), and it sounds awesome. If you have a record player, you shouldn’t buy it in any other format. You can purchase it here. The band will be on tour through November 1st in North America, hitting most of the major cities, including an evening here in Chicago at The Vic on October 11th.