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Delta Spirit - Ode to Sunshine LP
Includes mp3 download of album.
You can take the boy out of the emo but you can't take the emo out of the boy, as Delta Spirit shows on its debut for the Americana-oriented Rounder label. The ex-Noise Ratchet founders shift to more rootsy territory with their new band, yielding impressive results. Call it indie folk or anti-folk, but there's no doubt about the group's similarities to the Violent Femmes and the Waterboys, both in the predominantly acoustic instrumentation and Matt Vasquez's vocals. Ode to Sunshine was recorded in a cabin in Julian, CA, and those surroundings seem to have brought a raw, rootsy, almost Basement Tapes-styled feel to the stripped-down songs and production. Opening slots for Dr. Dog and Cold War Kids established the quintet's punk/Americana credibility, but this is more of a ragged, emotionally charged yet skewed folk album than anything those other bands have churned out. There are elements of older Gomez here as well, especially concerning the members' multi-instrumental talents and the quietly surging, primitive percussion that drives "Children." The closing waltz-time title track feels like a cover of an old traditional, but like the rest of the songs, it's an original that hews to the style of an earlier time and place, one in which the word "emo" was as foreign a concept as electricity. There are instances when this feels a little adrift and not all the songs resonate, but when they lock into a groove and a retro pop melody such as on "Strange Vine" or "Streetwalker," it meshes in an effortless, timeless, and intoxicating sound that shows the band's unique direction.