Spirit People
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Spirit People

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Rock Avant-garde




"Spirit People - Dragoons"

I count myself a fan of the sort of quirky, trippy brand of psych-pop created by Spirit People. I don’t possess any long-standing history with the genre, and I’ve never been the sort of guitar player eager to dive deep into the inner crevices of what makes guitar tone nerds geek out over their pedal boards. My affection for the sort of music that powers the whole of Dragoons is primarily based upon how it makes me feel: it’s weirder than post-rock in that it’s not afraid to explore dark corners without a need for huge crescendos at every turn; and, like art-rock and prog, it relishes the chance to explore the outer limits of traditional rock and pop formulas.

So, it would be a suitable compliment to describe this record as an inspired mix of The Flaming Lips, Yeasayer, Spiritualized, and A Sunny Day In Glasgow. The guitars are big, shiny, and resplendent with tremolo; the drums have a nice echo to them that complements the syncopated rhythms; and I dig the Coyne-esque tenor and falsetto vocals. The overall effect is pleasantly dreamy without sounding washed out or chillwave in orientation, and I really like the band’s energy and penchant for arranging the dynamics in a way that the crescendos and shifts in flow actually mean something.

There are instances, primarily during “Sammy,” “Cloud Pleaser,” and “Sprouting” when those arty impulses get the better of the band. In an attempt to shake loose of formal song structures, the tunes float and flit about with very little direction, and the weird, meandering synth melodies don’t help this sensation. Combine this with a tendency for things to become a bit too spacey and ethereal, and the result is a third of the record lacks teeth and mystery. In turn, this causes extended sections to sound a bit too much alike for my preferences, especially in terms of the effects layered onto the guitars.

The real thrust of the record is found in the second half of the record, specifically “Big Guard / Tetra Disaster,” “Lil’ Dawgs,” and “All Of Us Can Hear.” On those tracks, the band’s pretty, escapist aesthetic coalesces into an urgent climax, complete with strong part construction and increased heft and depth that keep your attention as Spirit People reach for the stars. Dragoons is by no means a perfect work of psych-pop, but I will always approve of a group that doesn’t like sitting comfortably upon old tropes just for the sake of garnering immediate recognition or acclaim. I think that more debut albums should be like this: fractured, herky-jerky, and filled with copious glimmers of the grandeur that’s still to come. - dryvetyme

"Stream: Spirit People’s Debut Album “Dragoons”"

Ever wish Built to Spill would take a bunch of hallucinogens, hit record and release whatever happens? Us too. ’Til then, try this: New York City’s Spirit People and their debut album Dragoons. At heart, it’s classic indie-rock pleasure fare but digging deeper yields more challenging song structures than your run-of-the-mill two-guitar set. Sure, songs like “Lil’ Dawgs” and “Sammy” riff on a summery pop thing but tracks like “All of Us Can Hear” and “Leave Me Be” feature free-form jazz rhythms that help them strut along, sometimes surrounded by an array of haunting, flickering electronics.

“The experimentation kind of buries the pop,” guitarist Henry Schiller tells Hive. ”You might have to dig through the songs a little to get to all the pop and folk parts but they’re there.”

Stream Dragoons below, which is available now at Bandcamp. - Mike Ayers






Spirit People was formed by and consists of three members, who met in college.