Spirit Quest Through a Forest of Psychedelia
With very little information surrounding the band, a little sleuthing reveals that Spirits And The Mechizedek Children started as Jason Elliot writing “open-ended lullabies and ballads… and eulogies to times past” until he fortified his songs with the addition of Chris Chase on keys and Joe McNeill on bass. Now they are joined by Bryan Fielden on drums and, after a short leave, McNeill is back as well. SATMC has just released their latest endeavor: So Happy, It’s Sad.
The album has folk roots, simple, thoughtful lyrics and swirling atmospheric guitars that together create a psychedelic roadhouse of classic cool. “Song Bird’s Grave” is an awesome opening track that prepares the listener for the vortex of psychedelia that they are about to traverse. The sound itself is amazing, and the songwriting backs the music.
“Lullabies for War” follows with its early My Morning Jacket influence, a free-flowing country-folk jam that whirls around a controlled and tasteful pond of reverb; however, it absolutely does not sound like a My Morning Jacket rip-off. It is rather a tasteful homage to their predecessors. “Land Tied” is a haunting, echo-laden track evoking themes of despair, hardship and hollow victory. With its sparse instrumentation and chilling violin passes, this song truly rings in the ears, sparking thoughts of mysticism and trial-and-error-style dread.
The title track is a chill, down-tempo psychedelic-folk tune which drones in and out of its own conscious state and will feel like the shortest four and a half minute song you’ve heard in a long while. The last two tracks, “Copper Father” and “Past, Present, Future” are both seriously well performed and tactful pocket orchestras, and you’ll be thankful for the surprise.
This style of music, with all of its droning and the hard hitting guitars, mixed with a very natural sounding ambiance and obviously well-thought structure, is an astounding fit for anyone looking for something both thought-provoking and distant. But be warned, this is not an album to listen to expecting to clearly hear all of the lyrics– in fact, most of the time you may just find yourself cooing along with Elliot, as that seems to be the majority of his vocal passages. But that should not take anything away from the great lyrics of So Happy, It’s Sad, because every song is a lesson in composition.