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CD of The Week

Week of 9/14/20

    Delta Spirit - What Is There (New West)

    Get out while the getting is good. That's one way you could describe the six-year hiatus Delta Spirit took following the release (and ensuing support) of their last release, Into the Wide. Burnt out but not fading away, the members of the group chose to take a collective intermission to focus on other projects in order to preserve the very thing that brought them such creative and commercial success. Fast forward to the now and Delta Spirit is back with What Is There, a self-produced 10-track record that feels like slipping into your favorite t-shirt: comfortable, familiar, and exactly what you're looking for.

    "The Pressure" gets things started in an up-tempo fashion before leading right into "It Ain't Easy." Featuring a great mix by Tchad Blake (U2, The Black Keys) and some impressive percussion from drummer Brandon Young, it is the most unique song on the album in how it effortlessly blends genres without sacrificing the hook or melodies. If you're not tapping your hands on something by the end of this one, then you're doing it wrong.

    Up next is "How Bout It," the first of three six-minute tunes on the album. This one is a good old fashioned, down-and-out-of-luck story that, while not breaking any ground lyrically, does a fine job showcasing each band member as they all seem to simply lose themselves to the moment. Bet on this track setting the stage on fire live. The same goes for "Better Now" and "Making Sense." It's a bittersweet reminder of the high caliber energy Delta Spirit brings to their live shows and the uncertainty surrounding when we might be able to experience those highs again.

    The title track closes out the record intimately with warmth and the chirp of the outdoors. With just singer Matthew Vasquez and his guitar, it's a comforting song that urges the listener to stop worrying and enjoy the ride. "May it remain in your memory / The joy you found in the journey / Never needed to get there anyway / What is there?" The excellence here comes from the sheer simplicity of the thought. It's one that has been repeated over and over yet still needs to be heard, now more than ever.

    What Is There proves itself to be a solid return to form for Delta Spirit. The band's chemistry hasn't missed a beat in the intervening years, proving that there's still material to mine and riffs to be had.
    Review by Keith Obaza

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