***and1/2 out of *****
On Ode to Sunshine Delta Spirit debuted with an instantly catchy release that was loaded with rhythm, awash in cymbals, joining the hippy-indie revival that was in full swing circa '08 (see Dr. Dog, White Rabbits, Cold War Kids etc.). Then the band released a clunker of a album with History From Below that seemed to find lead singer Matthew Vasquez struggling on the lyrical front. This self-titled release happily harkens back to what this band does best; pulsating style indie rock complete with complex beats, guitar lines and effecting vocals.
Matt Vazquez has always presented soothing pipes or a yelp that inspires, but here it is his lyrical voice that returns stronger. Maybe moving to Brooklyn from Southern California has inspired the singer, whatever the cause things are grown on this effort with tracks like "Host" sounding self assured. Noticeably the music has been accentuated around him, creating more of band vibe, then front-man/musical supporters like on the last record and this benefits everyone. There are still moments the lyrics aren't spot on but funkiness simply overtakes them with the party rocking "Tear It Up" or chaotic "Tellin' The Mind" both containing enough musical nuances to bounce your mind along with your hips. On "California" and the disk closing "Yamaha" the heartfelt issues shine through elevating some of the weaker lines showing maturity from Vazquez.
There are many here though: "Empty House", "Otherside", "Idaho", "Into The Darkness", "Timebomb" and disk highlight "Money Saves" which prove the band has a ton to offer. All of these coalesce the strengths of the 5 piece finding the shaggy minstrels in top gear going forward. Delta Spirit has a knack for emanating rays of sunshine with their playing and by going back to their basics they produce another winning number while giving glimpses of a band evolving in a positive direction. It is always intriguing when a band self-titles an album, maybe this is the Delta Spirit they always thought they were, a new beginning for the group.
RtBE has been on this band's tail since they started out, catching them in small clubs and reviewing their first two albums. I mentioned here that I was really frustrated by their last release, that is far from the case with this album. Good to see they are back doing things really well, here's hoping RtBE can catch them live. You should do the same, live dates here, grab the album here and peep some video previews below.