ARTIST: Spirit System
RELEASE DATE: 01/03/16
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
North Carolina based psychwave / shoegazing trio Spirit System began life in 2013 as a recording project between ex ‘TellTale’ musicians Laurie Ruroden – Vocals, Bass & Effects and Eric Gilstrap – Guitars, Synths, Vocals & Effects. They released the 3 track EP – ‘Together In The Merciful Dark’ & in 2014 they added Gary Guthrie on Drums and began recording their debut album ‘Nightfalling’ with Jeff Berner (Psychic TV, NAAM) at Galuminum Foil Productions in Brooklyn, New York. At the beginning of 2015 the band released the 4 track EP ‘Afterblume’ which contained 4 out takes of tracks that would appear on their debut album.
A swirling psychedelic drone introduces us to the opening bars of ‘Endless Dance’ before pounding drums, reverberating guitar strums and shimmering synth lines usher in the distinctly 80’s sounding vocal track courtesy of Eric Gilstrap. Spirit System’s hauntingly ethereal dark wave credentials are laid bare for all to hear as that duel vocal erupts & straddles the soaring synth line thus attacking the chorus with reckless abandon. Track 2 – ‘Lull’ opens up with a melodic guitar line intertwined within a swirling synth sample as we wait for the drum track to take hold. There’s an musical air reminiscent of ‘Disintegration’ era ‘Cure’ simmering within this tracks dark undercurrent & I’m mesmerised with it’s addictive guitar parts and dark but uplifting chorus progressions.
‘Black Moon’ meanders into the musical arena with a menacing drum pattern, throbbing bass line and those rockabilly style reverb drenched guitars that seem to carry you along with them as they crawl through a sonically murky soundscape. ‘Spirit System’ seem to love a soaring uplifting chorus and this track does not disappoint on that front. ‘Black Moon’ also introduces us to Spirit System’s shoegazing tendencies too as that explosive ending rides on a wall of sound worthy of any true shoegazers attention. Track four – ‘December, Solitaire’ is full of shimmering dream-pop flair as Ruroden’s vocal prowess comes to the fore. A brilliantly structured track with impressive production throughout. Mesmerisingly good!
An addictive drum pattern shuffles within a sea of reverb as an impressive wall of sound greets this listeners ears heralding the arrival of ‘100,000 Days’. Spirit System’s distinct use of light & shade are evident on their vocal tracks as battle lines are drawn between their rather dark verse parts, versus the intensely brighter chorus lines. Musically, there’s a hint of shoegaze in here too but it’s the swells of gothic style dark wave that flood the senses thus keeping this track grounded completely. Another really impressive track though. ‘Nest’ is a seven minute twenty seven second long psychedelic maelstrom, with it’s reverb drenched guitars, addictive bass line & soaring synth swells all swirling within pounding drums & a duel vocal to die for! Make no mistake, sonically this is the stand out track on this entire release! Wow! A true masterpiece and should be a single at some point?
The albums closer ‘More Is More’ begins with a melodic reverberating guitar line gently caressing Gilstrap’s vocal up until the chorus break. We’re then treated to another impressive duel vocal attack courtesy of Ruroden & Gilstrap as the track builds & builds until its shimmering end breaks with the sound of thunder and pouring rain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last three years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze Dream Pop Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm – Primal Radio – has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.