Spindrift – The West
Beat the World Records, 2008
I can personally vouch that Spindrift is a fantastic live band to go see. I saw them when they opened for the Black Angels and, in combination with the other opener A Place to Bury Strangers, promptly blew the Angels out of the water. It had something to do with their look (6 or so drifters crowded on a darkened stage) as well as the heavy reverb bouncing around the room during their enveloping western soundtrack. Seeing Spindrift during their “The Legend of God’s Gun” tour and subsequently buying the album, I can tell you that their live show is better than their recorded output. Therefore, I knew by picking this record up that, no matter how it sounded, it probably would be much more enticing to see it performed in person. Still, I had to know.
Spindrift continue their take on dramatic western music with thick guitar, falsetto, and instrumentals. They really do have a niche talent in adding horns, keyboards, peppy drums and sound effects to construct their visions of gunslingers, caravans, and tumbleweeds. It’s almost as if they had thought about becoming a surf band but everyone was afraid of water, so they stuck to land. Some of the tracks have lyrics that are sung but they are almost unwelcome since they are usually unremarkable and blurred by echoed effects anyway. They do, however, add to the tone that the musicians are wrapping together with their many angles. The true interest of the songs lie in the pictures painted by tracks such as “Ace Coletrane” and “Frozen Memories”, in which the latter portrays more of a haunting carnival element. Later, “The Klezmer Song” has a little fun with a different kind of cowboy, I suppose.
There are tracks on this record that aren’t so interesting or successful, so unlike a surf record that can be counted on from song to song to deliver consistent enjoyable output, Spindrift prefers to mix it up. I do think that this record, which was only released last year, is a bargain to be found if only for its uniqueness. I almost think that it was a bit of a crime I found it bottomed out so carelessly, but I suppose that’s just more gold for me. I would recommend this record to anyone who is up for something different, but only if they are willing to listen to it from beginning to end in a sitting. This release certainly isn’t one meant for singles but instead for an experience. And hey, if these guys are playing somewhere near you go check them out!