Album Review
Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit Album Cover

Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit

Reviewed by
Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit
Record Label: Rounder
Release Date: March 13, 2012
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
It's always an interesting thing when a band decides to self-title an album a few years removed from their inception. Often times bands credit the decision as some kind of deep artistic statement that fully represents the band's most complete effort to date. Any attempt to validate such a cause can be answered with the new self-titled effort from California/Brooklyn's Delta Spirit.

Opening up with the rattling rocker "Empty House," the disc automatically begins in a winsome manner. Vocalist Matthew Vasquez' voice has never sounded better, the rhythm section has never sounded more locked in and the group has never sounded more focused. Insofar as an opening statement, "Empty House," is everything it needs to be and more. First single "Tear It Up," follows and keeps the momentum flowing forward. Pulsing and urgent, the song harnesses the energy of"Empty House," and packages it into a jaunty three-minute single. Though the disc is only seven minutes in, the album so far is without flaw.

That trend continues on the autobiographical "California," which covers itself in an airy and organ-drenched veneer. Placid, vernal and painstakingly honest it represents Delta Spirit at their very best. The self-indulgent "Idaho," represents the band's first misstep but thankfully it's not a huge one. There's nothing exactly awful about the song, it just feels underwhelming when stacked up against the previous three. But alas, all the disappointment ends on the spartan ballad "Home." Wistful, melancholic and deeply moving, it is about as strong a ballad as any released this year, and as strong a ballad as any the band has written thus far. In terms of the album's composition, "Home," also serves as a fitting conclusion to Delta Spirit's first half.

The fiery "Otherside," and the equally scorching "Tellin' the Mind," open up Delta Spirit's second act with more energy and swagger than any other two songs on the disc thus far. Punchy, polished and incredibly visceral, the songs serve as the group's defacto mission statement. That is to say, they aren't just a bunch of California folkies who wear their heart on their sleeves. For all their sensitivity and honesty, this band can really growl and these two tracks are veritable proof of that.

But not a band to shed their proverbial skin, the quintet offers up arguably the best song they've ever written: the gorgeous and bracing ballad "Time Bomb." Ageless, indelible and deeply moving, it is most definitely a song the band can hang their hat on. The ethereal and ringing mid-tempo cut "Into the Darkness," borrows much of the charms of both "Time Bomb," and "California," and makes for one of the album's most enjoyable listens.

The bristling rocker "Money Saves," is amiable, comfortable and engaging, but nothing about it is deeply affecting or memorable. Much like "Idaho," it feels self-indulgent in places and does not do much to bolster the album's credibility. Calling it filler would probably be a disservice, but as a penultimate cut, it's incredibly underwhelming. Thankfully the band revisits the halcyon moments of most of the disc on the piano-tinged "Yamaha," a hazy affair that leaves it all on the table. By the time the song draws to a close, the urge to go back to the start is almost overwhelming.

With a body of work this strong and an album this captivating, it seems apparent that Delta Spirit knew exactly what they were doing when they self-titled this album. Wide-ranging, engrossing and incredibly powerful it represents a new height for a band who has hinted at towering heights before. Chalk it up to the production of Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Grizzly Bear) or just a band fully realizing their potential, but Delta Spirit is a brilliant album from one of America's most brilliant bands.

Recommended If You Like Wilco, etc.

Find Them Here http://deltaspirit.net
Displaying posts 1 - 10 of 10
06:55 AM on 03/12/12
Registered User
User Info.
jdr2187's Avatar
This is a great album, probably my favorite from them so far. I agree Matt's voice has never sounded better, he is easily one of my favorite vocalists. Cant wait to here all the new songs live. Great review.
07:54 AM on 03/12/12
Matt Chylak
contextblues.wordpress.co m
User Info.
Matt Chylak's Avatar
I cannot WAIT for this album to come in the mail. such a good band...entirely too underrated
10:40 AM on 03/12/12
User Info.
SmeezyBeezy's Avatar
Saw them live this summer at a festival, they kicked ass.
12:16 PM on 03/12/12
Regular Member
User Info.
jimmyeatsboys's Avatar
can't wait to check this out... anyone who digs this needs to get into the Middle Brother album from last year. matthew vasquez, jon mccauley (deer tick), and taylor goldsmith (dawes) with griffin goldsmith on drums and jason isbell on lead guitars. not to mention they were a supergroup who didn't suck
12:33 PM on 03/12/12
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
can't wait to check this out... anyone who digs this needs to get into the Middle Brother album from last year. matthew vasquez, jon mccauley (deer tick), and taylor goldsmith (dawes) with griffin goldsmith on drums and jason isbell on lead guitars. not to mention they were a supergroup who didn't suck
Agreed. Well said.
07:00 PM on 03/12/12
Up all night, and down all day
User Info.
thesollopsist's Avatar
Band is so good. Can't wait to hear this
12:37 PM on 03/17/12
shakin hips, bustin lips
User Info.
70x7's Avatar
Big fan of this album. I'm also a fan of the fact that Delta Spirit's rhythm section used to be in Noise Ratchet.
12:11 PM on 03/21/12
rivers cuomo
Registered User
User Info.
rivers cuomo's Avatar
I agree about "Time Bomb" being great, but I'm not really feeling this album.

Really don't like "Tellin' the Mind".

It took me a while to get into History From Below, though.
12:37 PM on 03/22/12
User Info.
phillipjacob's Avatar
California is a jam on this. I'm digging the album a lot so far.

Search News
Release Dates
Best New Music
Submit News
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
AP.net Podcast on iTunes
AP.net Podcast on Overcast
AP.net on Tumblr
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate