Delta Spirit

The Washington Times Daily - - Life -

Delta Spirit

Af­ter kick­ing off their ca­reer as roots re­vival­ists, the mem­bers of Delta Spirit rein­vent them­selves as mod­ern-day in­die rock­ers on their third al­bum.

The tran­si­tion can be jar­ring, es­pe­cially for de­voted fans of the band’s coun­tri­fied be­gin­nings. Gone are the acous­tic gui­tars, ragged pro­duc­tion and earthy per­for­mances. In­stead, a wide arse­nal of elec­tric in­stru­ments — in­clud­ing syn­the­siz­ers — help push the band away from Fleet Foxes ter­ri­tory and closer to the sonic ter­rain oc­cu­pied by Wilco and My Morn­ing Jacket, two bands that also aban­doned their folksy roots for a more eclec­tic sound.

The best song on this self-ti­tled re­lease is “Cal­i­for­nia,” a breezy pop tune whose vo­cal har­monies and hazy, sum­mery cho­rus pay trib­ute to the Golden State. Not ev­ery track packs such a strong punch, though, and Delta Spirit’s will­ing­ness to ex­plore a new di­rec­tion oc­ca­sion­ally gets the bet­ter of them. At the end of the day, this is still a band whose songs are de­fined by catchy melodies and riffs, so some­thing is lost when­ever the band de­votes its fo­cus to the pre­sen­ta­tion of the mu­sic rather than the mu­sic it­self.

Give the guys some credit, though. Here is a young band will­ing to scrap its orig­i­nal agenda and go with a dif­fer­ent plan en­tirely, and the re­sult is an ad­ven­tur­ous col­lec­tion of rock songs steeped in the present, not the past. That’s the spirit.

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