There’s a lot to be said for Myspace. Whilst many denounce it as a waste of time, effort and a place for people with no real friends to hang out, I’ve found it an amazing resource in finding and listening to bands. The instant ability to hear some music from a band you’ve read about is amazing. With The Stevenson Ranch Davidians (TSRD) I found them quite by accident, but it was one of those pleasant accidents that actually makes you smile.
Psalms, Hymns, & Spiritual Songs maybe an overblown title for your debut album, but somehow it works. Each of the songs are so joyous and grand that the title seems to fit comfortably. TSRD sound echoes back to the early days of The Verve and Spiritualized, the music has equal moments of brooding and elation whilst the guitars sweep through each of the songs like a heartbeat giving them a pulse that makes the whole record sound alive. The gentle strum of opening track Let It All Go with it’s lyrics of “Too many questions in my head… there’s just too many things I don’t understand” that it’s better to just “Let it all go”, sounds like a mantra for a better way of living, the vocals are an elegant mix of Richard Ashcroft and Ian McCulloch, gently strained but carrying an emotional weight. Getting By is one of the many highlights, the guitars chime and ring like a pure Summer morning. This is more Echo and The Bunnymen territory, the songs feels anthemic without being repetitive. Don’t Get Hung Up blends some Hammond organ into the mix and gets loose a bit, the vocals delivered in more of a drawl, more like the Stones and there’s a swagger here that doesn’t feel misplaced.
This album has been on constant rotation on my iPod since I’ve had it – there’s something truly joyous and uplifting about it. There’s an innocence to the recording and music that brings to mind the early days of Britpop, the sound of a band who believe in what they’re recording and the songs that they’re singing. Whilst the only negative is that you’d like to hear them cut loose a bit more frequently. The songs can sometimes sound a touch too perfect in their execution. But this is a minor quibble and all I can say is that it’s been a joy to be converted by their preaching.