Spirals is a project started by William Carlson (vocals/guitar) and Zach Whitchurch (drums). According to their Bandcamp page the duo were the sole contributors to the music on their release Wayward Years. On top of that Carlson produced, recorded and mixed the album. The duo did add Danny Huggins (guitar) and Sean Vanegas (bass) to the group but they do not appear on the album.
Wayward Years has a jangle pop vibe that will remind you of the indie rock bands from ‘90s. Bands like Fountains of Wayne, Blur and even Guided by Voices come to mind when listening to Wayward Years. Although Carlson and Whitchurch aren’t throwing many twists and turns into these songs the guitar and drum parts are inventive while the bass sticks to mostly root notes.
The album opens with the high energy yet nostalgic “Do You Remember?” Carlson sings, ”Do you remember, when life wasn’t a blur / Do you remember, living simpler / Do you remember, when things were as they seemed.” Carlson works well with the music. I can’t see his voice working for much more than guitar based indie rock.
As the album progresses it quickly becomes apparent that Carlson’s music contains a special ingredient that make his music enjoyable. On paper the music doesn’t sound overly impressive but between things like the guitar tone, production, delivery and more you quickly will notice the songs are good, sometimes on the verge of great.
Songs like “Glide,” “Everyday” and “Drift” have all you can ask for in rock/pop songs. What is especially effective on these songs is that Carlson has a good idea when to end a song. He never draws anything out longer than it needs to be and usually wraps everything up around the three-minute mark.
Wayward Years is a remarkably consistent album that gets back to the basics. Recommended.
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