Delta Spirit's self-titled third album is finally out -- after two years of anticipation -- and boy does it reach a new height. Armed with strong electronic beats and a heavy guitar, their signature folk sound appears to be left behind. Emerged is a wide ranging personal album that sounds more like a progressive rock album tethered lightly with their "Americana" roots.
Recorded in a converted church in Woodstock, NY, the album starts with lead singer Matt Vasquez's gut bustling voice and fuzzed out riffs in "Empty House." Layered with texture, the next song is "Tear It Up," which was inspired by the events that were happening in Egypt during Arab Spring, but also carries a more universal theme about what can happen with people band together with a common goal. The first single off the album, "California" is painstakingly honest and at first has a uplifting airy and ethereal ballad. In reality, the lyrics are carefully crafted about a failed long distance relationship that makes it relatable for anyone who has been though a breakup. Vasquez sings that he knows he has to let go a loved even though it will hurt him in the end: "And though my heart will fight until its dying breath / You're not for me."
The second act of the album after "Otherside" veers a bit from the previous songs, but they are just as fiery "Otherside" will keep the folk fans happy while "Tellin The Mind" seems to be a bit punk/experimental at times. "Time Bomb," a mesmerizing atmospheric and accosting song, incorporates a synthesizing piano that helps to create a dreamy ballad. Guitar-driven "Money Saves" adds throbbing and speedy beats to a familiar sound that is captured in one of my favorite songs from them, "Bushwick Blues." Ending with a track that could easily fit in an Arcade Fire album, "Yamaha" takes Delta Spirit into a completely different realm of music. With its heartbreaking lyrics and heavy piano, the song really takes you in and allows you to weigh on every word: "There's certain things in life I cannot take /And I will wait / I hope you know I care."
While there might be some growing pains with the more modern sound, Delta Spirit has taken one giant leap forward, and I know it will prove to be a big pay off. Frustrated with their earlier sound and being categorized as indie folk, they took a risk with self-titling their third album. The title only seems fitting, as this is the sound they had always envisioned for their band. I have already pegged this album as one of my favorites of 2012, hands down. Oh, and on May 10, they will be playing in Los Angeles at the Music Box. I'll see you there.
Stream the entire album via their website here.