(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CD review - The Depreciation Guild, Spirit Youth (2010)

Spirit Youth (due out May 18, Kanine Records) has a Phil Spector quality - it's thickly layered, reaching for that Wall of Sound. The vocals are breathy and processed, with all the instrumental parts compressed and stacked into the same sonic space, giving it a distant feel. While Spector focused on a sweet early rock and R&B vibe, the Depreciation Guild are more inspired by an '80s British post-punk, synth pop sound. Synth washes, keyboard fills, and shimmery guitars accumulate into a solid mass of detail that can become a little overwhelming.

Blue Lily leads off with tightly coordinated guitars layered together. The complex film of instruments add depth to a languorous pop vibe. While the basic idea is not so far from Depeche Mode or the like, the time shifts and beat changes at the bridge throw a prog rock curve that keeps it interesting.

The progressive rock feel gets stronger in the second half of the album. Tracks like Trace or White Moth have more interesting changes that merge a prog rock sound with a low-fi shoegazer pop. It's like My Bloody Valentine meets And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, albeit with a flattened intensity. That anti-depressant sense comes from the squashed sonic space and distant vocals.

I'll offer a round of vodka and lemonade while you listen.


  1. Jay...I agree with you wholeheartedly on this one, although I would add the title song to your list of choice tracks. Within the complex layers can be found some beautiful and interesting pop music. I remember having a similar feeling about a band's potential after first listening to Radiohead. The fact that the Depreciation Guild is such a young band (these guys are in their early/mid twenties) gives rise to the likely possibility of a bright future for them and some great music for us...Steve

  2. I'll agree, Steve. The title track is also nice, with some interesting changes.

    Part of the joy of younger bands is in trying to guess where they might go. I'll be watching and listening, too!