Oh, Spirit‘s richly layered, devil-may-care crescendos, pair perfectly with the band’s perspicuous and powerful vocals. The San Diego quintet – Ian Owen, guitar/vocals; Ryan Combs, guitar/vocals; Jesse Bowen, bass; Tyler Ward, drums; and Simon Griffith, keys – create a colorful floret of instrumentation behind Combs’ energized delivery. With their latest 7″, the band parses styles and creates a tapestry that is marbled with both concrete bruising, Converse clapping rock and spectral, nighttime soul. On “Been A Little While,” Oh, Spirit mashes the gear stick and hits hairpin turns with My Morning Jacket-like precision. Whirling, exuberant keys bounce against fevered guitars. Combs’ voice is the turnkey to capturing the resigned observations of the song’s buoyant, sometimes ceded, narrative. While there’s shadows of The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser in “Been A Little While,” the track transcends comparisons and is very much its own electric beast.
Meanwhile, “Caught Me Dreaming” is a departure from the band’s baying guitars and mad hatter breakdowns. With production that sounds authentically Motown (I immediately thought of Norman Whitfield’s work on The Temptations Wish It Would Rain), “Caught Me Dreaming” is both eerily gorgeous and unpretentiously emotional. There is a rolling fog that envelopes the listener with Oh, Spirit’s tranquil, painfully confessional, ode to scorched reveries. History, unearthed memories, and melodic ebb of evening tides course through “Caught Me Dreaming” with both wisdom and resignation. On the 7″ and the band’s accompanying live, in studio, performance of “Been A Little While,” it’s evident that the San Diego ensemble has their sundial pointing up.