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Spirits Burning

With Thom the World Poet – Golden Age Orchestra

Review by Gary Hill

Spirits Burning general make music that fits along the lines of space rock. There can be some definite variation there, but it’s usually not as much diversity as found here. This stuff tends towards folk music, but blues is another definite reference. The vocals on this remind me of Mick Jagger’s spoken stuff and his country tinged moods. Lou Reed is also a valid comparison. For the most part, this album was recorded live and basically improvised, even the vocals. It’s an intriguing set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Golden Age of When

Starting with spoken words, an acoustic based space rock jam rises up from there. The vocals get more sung as this continues and it really calls to mind Robert Calvert quite a bit, but with some folk music in the mix, too. This could almost be considered folk space jam band music. It’s quite cool and a great way to start the set in style. Some world music comes into the mix later, but it never really takes over the cut. There’s also some cool acoustic guitar soloing later.

Only One Question
In some ways this is essentially the same as the first track. There’s more energy to it, from the get-go, though. The bass really drives this beast. In some ways there’s a bluesy, jazzy vibe to this. It gets quite powerful as it continues, but still retains its acoustic based motif.
Pony Up (Myth of Reality)
This is cool. Basically they take the musical concepts heard earlier on the set and bring a serious country twist to the mix. It’s fun, and nicely strange. There is certainly a tongue in cheek element to it.
The Choice
This one’s more dramatic and seems tied in a lot of ways to the type of music the Animals used to do. Sure, it’s still got those same Spirits Burning sounds, but I’m really reminded of the Animals.
Retirement Blues
As the title suggests, here we get a blues tune that’s still based in that same acoustic based Spirits Burning sound. There are also some great retro keyboard sounds at times.
Santa Somewhere (Beach Blanket Waltz)
While the arrangement on this one is less layered and powerful than some of the others, it also manages to pull in more pure space rock sounds than some of the other cuts. There’s also a cool psychedelic, distorted guitar bit later in the number.
Everybody Knows
More folk rock oriented, there aren’t any huge changes here. This cut gradually grows into a more rocking version of itself, but the change is certainly gradual and subtle.
Both the Light and the Dark
This one’s more spacey than some of the rest. There are some great vibrating sounds and the percussion track really has a lot going on in it. It’s essentially an instrumental.
River of Xperience (Only One Question Remix)
I like this version better than the original. Some harmonica lends some killer blues textures, yet it still maintains a space rock sound. This is possibly the best cut on the disc.
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