My first listen to Spirit Duplicator was less than rousing. “I’m in The Mood (To Drive) – the disc opener and my introduction to The Wingdale Community Singers – is beset with dark vocals, sparse guitar chords and minimal, stuttering percussion, and I found myself wondering when the tune would actually start, that perhaps the band was stuck in the slow lane or, worse, park. The plodding pace was irritatingly distracting, and the itch to get things moving had my trigger finger popping the fast forward button, zipping me through the songs until I found something that I could grab on to.
That came on the disc’s eleventh track, the subdued, two-step beauty “Tears in My Tequila.” After drinking that up, I headed back to the beginning, and I figured this out: my own impatience nearly kept me from grasping the power of the somber openness and beauty of many of these songs.
Thankfully, upon return, it hit me – The Wingdale Community Singers demonstrate most ably the principle that less is more. This became more evident with each repeat visit to this record –these tunes are airy and wide open, with the vocals – often delivered with a campfire kumbaya mellowness – taking center stage and the instruments providing just enough balance to remind the listener that they are there, and this formula works for this band.
It just took me a few minutes to get it.
Spirit Duplicator is out now on Scarlet Shame.