If you haven’t already heard, disco/rock nonet, Sweet Spirit, are about to release a gigantic party-bomb of an album. The Austin-based group fronted by writing partners Sabrina Ellis (Bobby Jealousy, A Giant Dog) and Andrew Cashen (Tear Dungeon, A Giant Dog) are set to release their first full-length LP in mid-October on Nine Mile Records. Earlier this year, Sweet Spirit released an EP as well as a 7” with Spoon frontman Britt Daniels, quickly establishing the band as a force to be reckoned with in the Austin Music Scene. After seeing the band twice in one week at Waterloo Records and Hotel Vegas, and finally getting to listen to their album, Cokomo, I decided it was time get the word out.
Cokomo blasts off with “Take Me to a Party.” An extremely full track that boasts pitchy synths and wailing guitar riffs alongside belting vocals and beckoning horns. Whether crammed into a dirty bar or in front of a diverse crowd, Sabrina manages to turn the performance into a full-on dancing affair.
The subsequent track, “Baby When I Close My Eyes,” feels like a future-tropical space ride in and of itself. Released as the first single for their up-and-coming album, the song dives right in with an intergalactic groove that is quickly accompanied by a catchy little riff. Then suddenly, Ellis slips into the verse with, “L, is for the way / We look when we’re together / U, because we’re unashamed.” Finishing off the spelling of “LUST,” the ballad-esque space-pop describes the more fearsome side of love.
“Poor,” the fifth track, was one that particularly stood out to me. This old-school pop/rock track resonates in its description of the pleasures of the little things in life. You can’t help but feel the passion behind the bellowing of Ellis’ voice proclaiming, “Someday I’ll have a house that I can call my own / For now I call the mattress on the floor my home.” This song could very well be the embodiment of the life of a struggling artist, with high aspirations and an attitude that cannot be swayed.
Two tracks later, Andrew Cashen takes the driver’s seat on lead vocals for “Someone Like You.” This doo-wop insta-classic, reminiscent of 50’s greats such as The Platters or The Penguins, arrives sonically in full force. Coming in from every direction, hard-rocking harmonies paired with some skillful dramatic rests, it’s sure to make you dance with moves you never knew existed.
With one of the most memorable albums as well as performance of this year, this whole album is Christmas come early. Their album is only topped by the sheer attitude and aggression that this band puts into making a truly captivating live performance. Never letting instruments drown each other out, while also displaying each in its own prowess throughout the set, these guys know what they are doing.
Big shout outs to new Sweet Spirit members Leslie Matthews, Samuel Rives, & Cara Tillman, rightfully in charge of the horns & harmonies. Cokomo comes out on October 15th, but you can listen to the album’s single, “Baby When I Close My Eyes,” and a track from their 7” with Spoon’s, Britt Daniel below.
From Alabama to Texas, Connor Beitel is the Creative Director at Small Batch Productionsin Austin, TX. In addition to being a writer at Vinyl Mag, Connor helps run an organic audio/video experience for emerging musicians called Small Batch Music Project.