Delta Spirit performing at Landsdowne Pub in Boston, MA. 09/24/10

At the onset of Autumn 2010, I had never heard of Delta Spirit. My friend and fellow musician was invited to a “secret show” in a small bar on Landsdowne Street (right next to Fenway Park, for all you non-Bostonians out there) to see some “Americana rock band” that I “would probably like.” My first time seeing Delta Spirit was pretty magical. Since that time, they’ve been one of my staple go-to-bands for the warmer seasons of the year, with their albums Ode to Sunshine and History From Below in steady rotation.

Jump forward to 2012 and this San Diego-based group is finally releasing a self titled EP, with a little less raspy-voice-rock and a little bit more polish. I won’t go into the psychology behind why bands decide to label a particular album by their own moniker, but the layman in me believes that Delta Spirit finally feels confident with the sound they’ve been developing over the past few years. Matthew Vasquez’s voice seems somewhat more comfortable as he appears to be resisting the urge of sounding too gritty, which I’m assuming is no longer true for when he cuts loose during live performances. The band sounds as tight as ever, with their refined vocal harmonies, multiple percussion/syncopation, and plenty of ambient guitar filling out the album.

If I had one complaint, it would be the pacing of the record. Very much akin to History From Below, the band decides to throw in a low-fidelity B-side-esque track in the middle of the album, when they sound like they should belong as a closing or “hidden” track. It happened on their previous EP with “Scarecrow,” and now it’s “Home.” The song in question is very melancholic and lovely, but it feels like a speed bump when thrown in the middle of the record, subsequently throwing off the flow of the entire thing. Regardless, I’ve pretty much enjoyed my first few listens and I’m sure it will grow on me further as I blast it from the shoddy speakers in my Volkswagen Golf and/or from my iPod as I go for sweat-inducing runs. Now, if I were forced to assign a letter grade to this thing right now, I’d give it a solid A-, but I’ll have to let this one marinate a little longer before I can give the final verdict.

You can listen to their first single off of Delta Spirit, entitled “California” right here and catch a glimpse of the album in the video located below…

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