Spell Talk = The People’s Temple + Dead Meadow + The Black Keys
Salt Lake City seems like the last place anyone would expect to hear tunes like Spell Talk’s most recent LP, but this combination of minimal, mellow blues and psychedelic haziness feels like a hot summer day in the valley. Punctuated by Jared Phelps’ half-shouted singing, Touch It! sounds like it was recorded in a concrete basement, with every tremulous note aching out of Andrew Milne’s tortured guitar bouncing off the walls in a strange, hypnotic fashion. Their arrangements are simple, but their deeply groovy sound and loose, cavernous tone fills out the empty space between guitar strums. The focus here is on tripped-out, happy chords, and even the darker blues side of “Candyland” and “Night Howl” are offset with bubbly highs. The latter is one of the great tracks on the album, and the band takes well to raw, emotional blues, aided by Phelp’s choked-up wails and screams.