Debut single ‘Too Many Days / Set Me Free’ via Shutter Records
4th December 2015
“A unique new act that takes us in a new direction” – Notion Magazine
Set cruise control and drive. Through towns where everybody is on the same payroll. It’s on the way out of town where you pass clapperboard churches which shake to the speaking in tongues damnations and prophecies. Saturday night’s sin is washed away on Sunday. Keep driving. Pass the swamps and the last water tower.
This is the parched landscape of Williams Egglestone and Faulkner and Flannery O Connor.
There’s nothing on the radio that comes close to the field hollers and shouts, the call and response of the chain gang. Dignity, guilt of sin and snakes stretching in the Sun. The stoic rhythm of hammer against rock. The chain rings. The voices like a solemn ghost of regret. This was always the raw ingredient of all of the music that mattered. Of course it soon fell into the wrong hands. Diluted and spread thin with the venom taken out. It came to mean nothing. Still it sold. And then it came to pass that it was time to return to the very source. The phoney rebel stance has been playing too long.
This is not a band. It is the channeling of early sound. Don’t think for a minute though that this is sound for the museum. The spectral voice tonight goes on a drunken joyride in a stolen car. Carnal rhythm, a filthy cloud of horns and the deadly current of blues guitar. All cooked in the heat of an electronic haze. A sermon you cannot resist dancing to. It is primal and ancient yet thoroughly belonging to the now. “When you’re condemned, you’ve got nothing left but music, you’ve got no hope, it’s really pure. There’s so much heart because that is the only joy you’re getting,” say the spirituals. “Music is giving the chain gangs something to get through the day. It really is the rawest form of music.” “We found so many analogies in their experiences that apply to society. It drove us into a space where we realised that we couldn’t mess around, we knew that we had to make a song with a lot of heart.”
From the speakers uncoils “Too Many Days”. The stark “gotta take the man down” lyric hangs like condemnation over a dark swamp of horns, guitar and electric throb. “That form of music, it’s not really a genre in itself,” they explain. “While people always try and give it a name, the chain gangs didn’t choose to be in a band. They had nothing and like so many forms of folk music, they created something out of necessity. “
“In a way they are searching for their own redemption and what’s especially interesting is that when everything else was prohibited, the guards never shut it down. While all your human rights are taken away, the soul prevails.”
Shutter Records are proud to present House of Spirituals debut release. The lead track “One Too Many Days” is a potent first shot. This is chased down by “Set Me Free”. A wanted man, on the run, coming to terms with a crime he has committed. Taken together, the tracks are an addictive shot that leave the listener sick for the full dose of an album. “Can’t make a stand, because I’m caught with blood on my hands, chapter and verse, like the boy who was Born with the curse,” Written simply for the guitar. The song is an intoxicating distillation of simple elements that somehow become epic. It is raw soul music in the existential sense.
Their time in the sunshine and fresh air is coming to an end. Before disappearing back into the walls of their studio they offer a final explanation of their mission. It is delivered with a fervent commitment that makes you believe The House of Spirituals. “We need the human emotion and we need the electronic element, that is our fascination. We aim to combine the old and the new and encapsulate the heart.”