Spy Island – At The Vegan Witch Trials

Spy Island - At The Vegan Witch Trials

Spy Island - At The Vegan Witch Trials

On their new LP, Spy Island retains some of the endearingly rough edges that defined their earlier efforts, while taking their music-making talents to new heights. Thanks to clever instrumentation, glued-together harmonies, and a few gambles, rock and pop music thrive on At The Vegan Witch Trials.

This mostly Portland-based band alternates between noise rock and quiet, acoustic-centered pop. A muted nerdiness may filter through at times, but this is overshadowed by a homey slacker vibe. That vibe is frequently attributed, often unfairly, to Northwest regional bands like Spy Island. A lot of work went into At The Vegan Witch Trials, and it shows. Download the album here.

The relaxed, dirty little song, “Blue Pillows”picks up steam with a harmony that spills right into the chorus, where music and vocals both shine. This song actually gets better as it goes, taking a sudden but welcome turn at the bridge, where doting piano keys lead right back into the chorus. This chorus is almost anthemic in slacker terms. “Blue Pillows” also reveals the band’s refined ear and unique arrangements. Here and elsewhere on the album, assorted keys, trombone, and saxophone make themselves at home. This music doesn’t just find its comfort zone. It makes it.

Moving from rock to acoustic pop, “Walls of Home” showcases smart lyrics shared between the male-female vocals, sometimes trading off, sometimes in harmony. The band’s down-to-earth persona gushes through the vocals: “I know it comes from the armchair, but I’ve got suggestions. I want to help. I’ve got all these ideas.”

Weak spots are few and far between here. At The Vegan Witch Trials excels. The band’s smarts translate into the music, and the music has never been better.

Spy Island’s Web site