The Spiritual Leaders came together in 2010 through a shared love of classic ‘80s and ‘90s indie and college rock. Although day jobs and life was a factor they managed to keep playing music and recently released an EP entitled Albania Away.
The songs are fun, catchy and certainly spans a couple of generations of rock. I was picking up on english bands like The Smiths but also a lot of indie rock from the last twenty years such as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
They get going with “Picture on The Wall” which gets a number of things right. I loved the jangly guitar sound, the prominent groove based bass line and steady drums. I’ve always thought an accent from Ireland melded with rock music and this is no exception. The vocals sounded great on this song.
By the time I got through listening to “Fatten The Calf” I was a big fan. They create a dreamy atmosphere here but the bass and drums really keep the groove going. It’s a mix between the funk you might have heard from Talking Heads mixed with some of the aesthetics you heard from The Smiths. My favorite line was “everyone’s looking for a slice of their pie.”
The band starts to get a little more garage rock on “You Know Me.” They pull out some more distortion and there is even a blaring guitar part where he rides one note for a while. The vocalist just kills. There are really infectious melodies and I loved the tone and inflection of his voice.
That is followed by the arguable highlight “Bell Jar.” The guitar parts are fantastic. It felt playful and free. This felt like classic ’90s indie rock to me in the best way and had elements of bands like Pavement and Yo La Tengo which I grew up on.
They strip things down and get a little more emotional on “Temporary.” It’s a beautiful song with inspirational lyrics. It reminds me of the adage “and this too shall pass.” They close with “Underwater With You” and similar to the previous song it is emotionally resonant.
This release had it all. Great performance, production and songwriting. Highly recommended.
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