Lovespirals are in the final stages of producing their 4th full-length album, Future Past. The 11 songs comprising this new collection include some of the band’s most ambitious work to date. Band founder, Ryan Lum, has achieved what he feels is truly a big-studio sound in his private home studio. His attention to detail in sound design is born of a true love of the craft, and he’s been perfecting these skills since his first indie release, Idylls, back in 1992. Lum has updated his musical equipment and recording system quite extensively since Lovespirals’ 2007 album, Long Way From Home. This might be most noticeable to the listener in the range of guitar and keyboard sounds used on this album. In addition to the Rhodes piano and Hammond organ featured in the past, Lum has enhanced his vintage keyboard palette with analogue synth and string machine sounds. And guitar tones too have been pushed into new future retro sonics, utilizing both vintage and modern boutique guitars, tube amplifiers, and effects pedals.
Band vocalist, Anji Bee, who began collaborating with Lum in the early 2000’s, has also worked hard to improve upon her sound and performances. Armed with a new microphone, cabling, and preamp, she has pushed her voice to new heights, exploring diverse vocal territory. From deep, sultry rhythm and blues soulfulness to bright, ethereal breathiness — and all points in-between — from a single voice to a 3-part harmony; Bee is the vocal equivalent of a one-man band. And lyrically, Bee has dug deep to unearth some of her most revealing and intimate lyrics yet. Though her song topics have always touched upon more than personal relationships, the abundance of such fare in the past has led critics to label Lovespirals as purveyors of “love songs.” Bee feels confident that will not be the case this time. Interestingly, the two songs most obviously tied to romance are not ballads, but upbeat numbers; “Feel So Good” is soulful funk with a distinctly retro feel, while “Love” is an atmospheric drum ‘n’ bass song, reminiscent of the duo’s earliest work together.
Not that this new album is wholly composed of electronica vibes; on the contrary. Lovespirals have achieved a fine balance between their various influences, including moody classic-rock ala Pink Floyd or Fleetwood Mac; groovy late-period Motown soul & funk; bittersweet electropop in the vein of Air or Zero 7 — with a sprinkling of sensual slow-burning blues, and a dash of the soaring ethereality that the band has long been known for. Somehow Lum and Bee are able to take such disparate elements and combine them into an easily identifiable sound that can only be described as “Lovespirals.” Though it’s hard to label their music for today’s highly genre-defined culture, Lovespirals are not concerned. The joy of independent music is that it is not bogged down by marketing research and sales strategies; it exists because of the creator’s love of music. And Future Past is certainly a labor of love for Lovespirals.
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