TIN SPIRITS – Wired To Earth (2012)
TIN SPIRITS is the new project of one of the most original and inventive guitarists the UK has ever produced: former XTC guitarist Dave Gregory.
With a healthy dose of wordplay in the band’s name and the record’s title – “Wired To Earth”, Tin Spirit’s debut channels the spirit of 1970s Progressive Rock, yet it remains firmly anchored to the present by strong melodies and a refined sound.
Mind you this is not your average prog / art rock with verse – chorus – verse. “Wired To Earth” is very ingenious work which (after a few spins) will haunt you and make you hum along.
The main feature here are the dual guitars (with great double leads) and excellent bass and drums layers. But the vocals from Mussard, Kilminster & Steinhardt enrich the texture with superb harmonies.
At the same time modern and eternal, deep instrumental lines ebb and flow in complex swashes that, in turns, either spread thin as ether or crystallize into surreal, vertiginous architecture one can only marvel at and admire from the inside.
The first song “Glimmer” has a very spacy and open feel. Warm guitars welcome one into the music with its sparkling, twinkling guitar heralding the fairyland of musical adventure that awaits.
“… And Go” is in three parts and changes mid way to power driven guitar, more edge and gritty. In fine neo-prog fashion we have some fine drumming by Dougie Mussard, while the tension builds within the guitars from Dave and Dan Steinhardt until lead singer Mark Kilminster’s towering vocals soars across the track and the sun breaks through.
“Back in NYC” comes straight from Genesis’ masterpiece ‘Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’. On this third track, the listener hears Tin Spirits covering at their best, a version much more guitar driven than the original.
“Broken” has Dan and Dave creating some breath-catching riffs. It is such a marvelous song that is belied by the title and has all the swagger and panache of a soundtrack written for a movie or TV drama. A waterfall guitar at its centre drifts effortlessly back into river of melody tumbling and splashing across the rocks of Dougie’s machete-style drums.
The final song “Breathe Shallow” is a fitting end to a brilliant prog album. The song evokes traditional rock sounds from the ’80s and early nineties, but without being formulaic. The vocals and harmonies on this track are especially good.
Though relatively short for prog standards, “Wired To Earth” packs a fierce punch, providing tons of intensity and musical beauty.
The whole album has that feel good factor in bucket loads and the satisfaction of a story well told. This is Progressive Rock with impeccable pop sensibilities, and it provides a fittingly rich and varied backdrop for Dave Gregory’s superb guitar work.
Very well produced and mixed, Tin Spirit’s debut is a highly recommended listen to any prog / art rock aficionado, and a pleasant experience for all eager to discover tasteful music.
Dave Gregory (guitars)
Daniel Steinhardt (guitars and vocals)
Doug Mussard (drums and vocals)
Mark Kilminster (vocals and bass)
BUY IT !