13 MAR 12 DAVID SHANNON
With their self-titled Rounder Records release and third full-length album, San Diego's Delta Spirit evidently wanted to shed some labels they had accumulated following their first two full-lengths (also on Rounder), 2008's Ode To Sunshine and 2010's History From Below. The result is neither throwback Americana nor folk-influenced, but mostly a full-throated rock 'n roll roar that borrows from some vintage production values and yet delivers a distinct sense of the here and now.
Many of the songs on Delta Spirit sound as if they could have been recorded by a '60s-era Phil Spector. Layered with sound and brightness, tunes like "California" and "Idaho" stack the guitar sound on top of itself, while "Yamaha" has an almost choral effect. Meanwhile, "Home" takes a page from Bruce Springsteen's songbook, although less the Americana Boss and more the balladeer Bruce, with its themes of longingness and hope and its flesh-and-bone imagery.
Still, the band is on the money characterizing the record as all about "right now." For example, "Tellin' The Mind" launches with a shrill jungle call and primal drum machine pulse, then mashes it up against a blazing riff for a fresh and original effect. Other songs, like "Money Saves" and "Otherside," are all driving guitars and swelling vocals fronted by anthemic choruses. Delta Spirit refers to the past but shines brilliantly on the present, just like a great rock 'n roll record should.