TDP Review: Spirit Kid ‘Is Happening’

avatars-000063119425-lyv08j-t500x500Boston-based indie power pop band Spirit Kid recently released a second album, Is Happening, and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time. With this long New England winter finally coming to a close, the beachy, dreamy sounds of Is Happening remind listeners that summer is around the corner; and the promise of summer, encapsulated in this record, makes everything better.

The band is really a project of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emeen Zarookian who is backed on stage by various members of other Boston outfits, including Bent Shapes and Babydriver. In the studio, however, Zarookian IS Spirit Kid.

Heavily influenced by ’60s British bands and psychedelic sounds, Is Happening captures a certain energetic and soulful nostalgia. The opening song, “Everything is Old,” bears an instrumental resemblance to the Stones’ “Get Off of My Cloud” and echoes The Animals’ “I’m Crying.” The sound may be familiar, but that doesn’t mean the song – or the album, for that matter – lacks originality. Zarookian, clearly a skilled musician and impressive talent, combines the familiar with the new, making the album contemporary and relevant.

Is Happening shifts between moments of high energy on songs like “Slow it Down” and “Making Excuses,” to mellower songs, like “Is This Heaven.” The majority of the album, however, falls somewhere in between, which seems to be the best place for Zarookian. Although Is Happening is consistently strong, there are a few standouts. “Playing Cupid,” which Spirit Kid released in time for Valentine’s Day, is much more bluesy 50’s crooner than hazy 60’s psychedelic. The great mix of sounds – from swelling to discordant to jazzy – works well paired with Zarookian’s sharp voice. Another striking song on the album is the closing track, “You Know She Would,” which also highlights Zarookian’s vocal talent and his ability to move fluidly from one style and sound to another. There is a bit of intentional jarring in this one, but it works. The whole album works.

As the weather is shifting and the sun is shining, Spirit Kid is happening. Tune in.

Comments

  1. Great record! Thanks for the recommendation.

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