Less than two minutes into “Voices in the Vortex,” the first cut on Spiricom’s Songs for a Summer Séance, I reached over and nudged up the volume. It was something of an autonomic response; my brain wanted Mark Cody’s fuzzed-right-the-fuck-up guitar to punch me a little harder. That’s your point of entry on this sophomore release: a big, aggressive, fist-in-the-air post-rock piece, complete with driving drums from Steven K Smith, who also handles keyboards and synth guitar. Once your heart rate has been driven up, Cody and Smith dial it back a little for two tracks, focusing on the kind of spooky, mystical air the title suggest. “Identify the Moved Objects” has its own snarl as Cody trades licks with some big, bassy synth chords, but then fades into sighs and a quietly picked melody. “Watching the Spirits Leave” starts darkly, on growling drones and vocal samples. The sounds swirl into a hypnotic haze, with Cody laying bright repeating notes over the top. But you’re not getting away that easily. On the title track, which takes up just about half of the entire release, Cody’s guitar will come back to rip and flail and bring us back around to the kind of nasty power that kicked it all off. It opens in post-rock territory, establishing its verse, if you will. Around the three minute mark, the first wave of unleashed guitar hits–big and beautiful and brightly distorted. Cody and Smith drop things out to a calmer space for a while, constructed in background sounds and long, wavering chords. You know the phrase, right? The calm before the storm? Yeah, that. Listen to this piece build itself back up in intensity. The percussion takes on a touch of tribal, the flavor of ritual, as static-splased radio voices babble at us urgently. Then you’re locked in as it grinds upward into an absolute hurricane of sound, screaming in your ears as the guitar revels in thickly distorted rock joy.
I’d give Songs for a Summer Séance high marks based on the last track alone. The fact that it lands with such impact in just 30 minutes? Bonus points. Everything about it makes me want to listen to it just one more time. According to the Spiricom web site, this EP is a little musical layover while Cody and Smith finish up their next release. To that, I say: HURRY. UP.
Available at the Spiricom web site.