Saturday, 16 April 2011

Spirit People - Dragoons

Dragoons is the first collection of exultant hymns and saturnine carols by the New York-based music makers/fiend alliance called Spirit People.

The young men who make up this musical collective have been writing songs together for over a year, and began work on this album in September 2010. After six months of recording in a basement, lit by the yellow light of a winter evening that crawls through frosty windows, the album is ready to be heard.

Dragoons is messy, it is strange, it is joyous fun and harrowing distance. The album was made with a collection of guitars tuned incorrectly, over-explored drum sets, sweaty pianos, swaying electronics, and phantasmal singing. The tracks are all fleshed out with lyrics that range from austere and harrowing to nearly psychedelic maneuvers of form. The songs make use of syncopation and contrast parallel melodies, all awash in miles of oceanic reverb, with each new listen revealing tokens of hidden sound.

Album tracks like "Keep Knees" and "Big Guard / Tetra Disaster" ache with severe guitar dysphasia and chord progressions that reek of unearthly jazz; "Quiet Rooms" and "Sammy" are warm and inviting, wrapping you in moss, and coming as close as Spirit People ever does to the pop stylings of an album like Vampire Weekend or a C.S. Lewis novel; the almost mathematical "Leave Me Be" is a cyclothymic dreamworld of wizardly trills and distraught vocals; and the closer, "Sprouting," the barest track on the album, ushers you safely back into the real world with the hollow rings of a woodland gospel and smiling nostalgia.

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