The American Spirit

Season of Violence or Mourning, Protest, & The Birth of Bishop Killborne

<i>Season of Violence or Mourning, Protest, & The Birth of Bishop Killborne</i>

Austin- and Santa Barbara–based folk-rock trailblazers The American Spirit makes music that sounds like the ideal soundtrack for sipping a whiskey sour at sunset. On the band’s first LP, Season of Violence or Mourning, Protest, & The Birth of Bishop Killborne, it puts forth songs that are evocative of barren landscapes and filled with honest yearnings to search for something more. Tracks like “Going My Own Way” and “All Night” are especially reminiscent of trekking along in a well-worn pair of boots. Taking cues from its previous two EPs, here the band gently nods to a crossroads of genres. Haunting chord structures reminiscent of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl get mashed up with something slightly folkier, though the band carefully avoids the pedantically congruous melodic patterns we tend to associate with most modern folk-rock. Songs like “Wait for the Night” are heavier, with dense minor rhythms that sink to the bottom only to be pulled upward by Gabriel Strycharz’s vocals and angelic, almost-choral-like harmonies. Later down the track list, we get bluegrass-tinged numbers like “Season of Violence,” which offers a brash look at humanity’s plight. Honeyed guitar riffs add delicateness to tracks like “My Motives,” which is followed by “Walking in the Rain,” the reflective end number that wraps up the album. The American Spirit proves itself to be a band to keep an eye on and one capable of bringing folk-rock back to its roots while simultaneously creating a niche sound that is both complex and poignant.


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