It still amazes me how folk music has become such an inspiration to so many modern bands. I think it has to do with storytellers telling great tales backed by musicians. It’s almost the only genre in which major record companies find it hard to create a band to cash in on its popularity (unlike punk, hip hop and pop bands) because to write and perform this music you need soul, integrity and intelligence. Without those you will be caught out sounding a bit shit.
What does my little rant have to do with Delta Spirit’s second album ‘History From Below’? Well, this album typifies how good the new folk scene is. An album of rich melodies, meaningful and poetic lyrics, and enough tranquility to ease any troubled mind. Based on Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History Of The United States”, this album is a slab of Americana. The influences of this band shine through the songs. There’s Guthrie’s social laments, Waits’ fictional characters and Springsteen’s passion.
The folk rock base for the songs are accentuated with pop harmonies and New York indie rock, and at times strike me as being close to The Weakerthans musically. You can’t fault the album. All the songs are enjoyable with no one track standing out above the rest, which in my opinion is not a bad thing. What it shows is a band who are prepared to write a full album of good songs and not allowing any filler tracks just to make up numbers, which sadly happens more and more these days in music.
The Delta Spirit come across with a belief that music is like a religious experience. It can be poignant, uplifting, can reflect a mood and can set the mood. And when you seek answers, they can be found in a song in the same way people turn to a bible. The Delta Spirit haven’t provided the answers just yet, but you sense from this record’s improvement from their debut, that they soon will be capable of providing those answers.