The Dry Spells, the a female fronted indie-folk outfit from San Franscisco, is an interesting listen. The group’s whimsical yet often brooding sound gives way to imagery evoking woodland like wonder coupled with a dark, gothic sensibility. Its debut album shows that the members are strong songwriters, while keeping the audience’s interest in their epic compositions by creating unique sounds with surprising instrumental choices.
The band opens with “Lost Daughter”, seemingly about a young girl lost in nature. It starts off soft, driven by distorted guitar and tambourine. When it picks up, the guitar gets heavier and along with the bass line makes for an interesting feel, combining Eastern and Western melodies with the use of a violin thrown in as well. A brave introduction indeed. “Black is the Color” is melodic and driven by the impressive use of vocal melodies. The breakdown midway is an interesting break from the rest of the song that, for the most part, can be a little repetitious. Then, out of left field we are hit with a wah-pedaled guitar combined with violin. Truly a unique combination that works beautifully.
“Sruti” is an inspired number thanks to the effective use of the effects laden guitar and atmoshere. “The Golden Vanity” welcomes back the use of the effects laden guitars and wah pedal, this time for a more dramatic effect. Combined with the rich vocals this song is just plain beautiful. “Evangline” is a moody little number with an opening inspired by what sounds like a traditional Irish-folk melody, but the song quickly evolves into a cathartic indie ballad, then into a Latin jazz inspired jam. Brilliant! The title track is a seemingly by-the-numbers indie song, but it throws in a number of interesting curveballs to keep things fresh.
The closing songs, “The Crow”, “Batwood” and “Rhiannon” are all solid numbers as well. A song by song account is the way I normally do things, but stopping here and telling you to check these girls (and guy) out will suffice. Some will complain that their songs are a little too long for what they’re going for here, but fortunately they keep things interesting and at times things fly by very quickly. Of course, you’ll want to go back and listen in on their subtle nuances over and over.