The SoundDiego Record Club features some of the best new musical releases from around the county. Read on and listen in. As always, be sure to support our local artists and purchase their music -- and if you can, go see them at a show.
Spero, released Nov. 11
On their sophomore release, Spero have crafted a cohesive Mobius strip of an album with "Pride." Clocking in at 25 minutes, the record's six songs range from funeral procession folk dirges to sepia-toned barroom brawl blues bombs and fuzz rock explosions. The atmospheric, somber affair sounds painstakingly pieced together; the throbbing, tremolo guitar of "Better Man"; the percussive hi-hat and stick-click intricacy of "Can't Get More"; the sprightly piano on "Friend" -- all contributing to the songs' surprisingly svelte transitions. Indeed, most of the tracks are shape-shifters -- starting as one thing and eventually launching into another, as though the band (vocalist/guitarist Jesse Hofstee, vocalist/pianist Hillary Laughery, bassist Nick Hankins and drummer Ryan Malette) has some kind of musical attention deficit disorder. It works to their advantage: Instead of drowning in the pool of blues/rock bands that started popping up like bad acne after hearing "I Got Mine" by the Black Keys, Spero confront the burden of the stale genre head on and brush it off. Case in point: "Talking Up," which begins with a lurching stomp and leans into a slow, distorted bass line that plays over swampy electric piano. It could have easily ended up with some boring, mainstream radio–ready chorus but instead erupts into a cavalcade of swirling organ and crunchy guitar riffage -- all while Laughery snarls and spits her way through volcanic refrains of "So go on/And look me in the eye/And do what you do best/Lie." They're some of the most vitriolic, embittered vocals that have echoed through San Diego in a while. After the soaring slide guitar of the closing track ("They Say") settles, an all-too-brief atmospheric piano (reminiscent of Elliott Smith's "Bye") concludes the record and perfectly bridges the end of the EP with the beginning notes of the first track -- an endless loop, if you will. Which ain't a bad idea at all, considering you'll most likely have "Pride" on repeat. [Buy it here]