released June 8th, 2010

from the album - Devil Knows You're Dead

from all music

After the San Diego-based emo outfit Noise Ratchet called it quits in 2004, co-founders Jon Jameson (bass) and Brandon Young (drums) decided to ditch their punk-influenced sound for something more rootsy. The two left Rick Rubin's American label (which had signed Noise Ratchet several years prior) and joined forces with vocalist Matthew Vasquez, guitarist Sean Walker, and multi-instrumentalist Kelly Winrich to form Delta Spirit. Pitching its style between the indie rock and alt-country camps, the group issued an EP entitled I Think I've Found It in 2006 and hit the road alongside Cold War Kids and Dr. Dog.

Delta Spirit's debut album, Ode to Sunshine, was released by the bandmates themselves in 2007. It reappeared one year later in remastered format courtesy of the band's new label, Rounder Records. Reviews for the record were highly favorable, and the group toured heavily before traveling to Prairie Sun Studios in 2009 for the creation of a second album. The finished product, History from Below, was released in June 2010.

album review

Delta Spirit scaled themselves back from five to four members before entering the studio to record their second album, History from Below, but the band doesn't sound any less powerful or expansive for losing a guitar player. If anything, History from Below sounds bigger and more ambitious, in terms of both the production and the performances; Delta Spirit (is that the name of a band or an airline?) have refined the melodies which weave together country and blues influences while letting the guitars speak louder, with a pop tunefulness that's leavened by smartly layered guitar work. Listen to the undertow of guitar noise that builds into a thundering storm on "Salt in the Wound," or the sheets of feedback and percussion that ebb and flow through "White Table," and it's clear Delta Spirit learned a lot about what to do with the studio in the two years that separated their debut and History from Below. However, despite a little more polish and a lot more expertise, what was most impressive about Delta Spirit's debut hasn't left them on their sophomore effort the songs are smart but straightforward, emotionally honest and accessible even when they're as ambitious as the eight-minute "Ballad of Vitaly," and Matthew Vasquez's vocals carry the weight of the group's rootsy influences without sounding as if he's pretending to be a rube. And "Bushwick Blues" and "Golden State" demonstrate Delta Spirit can rock a good bit harder this time out even as they add some new tricks to their musical arsenal. History from Below is clever, heartfelt, and well-crafted, and suggests this band is solidly building on the promise of their debut.

Track Listing

1 9/11 Delta Spirit 3:16
2 Bushwick Blues Delta Spirit 3:42
3 Salt in the Wound Delta Spirit 5:50
4 White Table Delta Spirit 5:06
5 Ransom Man Delta Spirit 4:27
6 Devil Knows You're Dead Delta Spirit 3:58
7 Golden State Delta Spirit 3:15
8 Scarecrow Delta Spirit 4:06
9 Vivian Delta Spirit 4:28
10 St. Francis Delta Spirit 4:23
11 Ballad of Vitaly Delta Spirit 8:05