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Now Hear This: The Spyrals | Same Old Line

Score some acid, fire up the lava lamp and dig out your fringed buckskin vest, man.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Los Angeles group The Spyrals have released their new album Same Old Line, their fourth full-length to date. Taking cues from The Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators and The Stooges by way of Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters, the record sees the band carve out eight songs of raw, back-to-basics rock ’n’ roll that marries white-knuckle garage-blues, psychedelic repetition and sun-baked alt-country to create something new with an old soul.

Armed with a guitar, harmonica and fuzz pedal, bandleader Jeff Lewis formed The Spyrals when he was living in San Francisco in the early 2010s. Now, though, he’s based in Los Angeles and finds himself backed by a new lineup of musicians. Same Old Line was cooked up in new drummer Dash’s garage and recorded over the course of a few days and nights straight to a Tascam tape machine. Jeff recalls: “This is the first album recorded with a new lineup after I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. At the time of recording we werenʼt sure if this would be a Spyrals album or something under a different name. At some point during the mixing process I decided to keep moving on under the Spyrals name, so to me this album is a real turning point in the band’s history.”

The result is a record that’s just as rooted in the sounds of Nashville and the Mississippi Delta as it is the band’s West Coast garage-rock forebears. “I was heavy into listening to a lot of Neil Young and Crazy Horse during this period too, which I can hear in some of the song structures. We actually all took a road trip to Bakersfield, CA to see Neil with Crazy Horse in concert around the time of working on the album.” Lyrically, Jeff says, “it feels like the most raw record so far and the most open and down to earth. Less psychedelic sounds and more real life emotions and situations.” The opening title track Same Old Line, for example, is a song about “life’s ups and downs and how some people seem to have it easier than others. We’re all tied together whether we know it or not and in the end we all have our different struggles to get by and keep living.”

Elsewhere, Don’t Turn Me Down is a defiant, overdriven ode to “trying to stay positive when obstacles seem to keep coming in the way” and In Your Room is a piece of psychedelic alt-country about a “new romance, maybe a short fling, and wanting something to work out that you know won’t be possible”. Charting similar themes, There’s A Feeling is about love and travelling (“two things that can be hard to do at the same time”) and Goodbye is an observation that “life is short and even the stars fade away eventually,” both delivered through the medium of stomping, blues-inflected garage-rock. Just Won’t Break, on the other hand, is a song about the American Dream and its hopeless shortcomings, Jeff offering the following advice for his fellow countrymen and women: “Don’t let it get you down. Most of us are still waiting for it to come true.”

Arriving off the back of their 2012 self-titled debut, 2013’s Out of Sight and last year’s The Curse, Same Old Line marks a new chapter for the band who have spent the last decade picking up a growing international reputation for their fuzzed-out, driving rock ’n’ roll. They’ve played with the likes of Spectrum/Sonic Boom, Moon Duo, Fuzz, The Warlocks and Spindrift and performed at such festivals as SXSW, Desert Stars, LA Psych Fest and in 2015 they even headlined a festival in Southern Russia (Spring Beat Festival), one of the first U.S. bands to play in the area. Right before the Covid-19 lockdown set in this year they’d also wrapped up a headline European tour just in the knick of time.”