by Myles Tiessen
With Nowhere No One Knows Where to Find You, Slow Spirit continues to push traditional rock boundaries. The band’s utilization of an electronic sound gives depth to the production, all while keeping it refreshing and compelling. Punchy drums anchor most of the songs, which see jazz-like instrumentation built on top. The effervescence of Natalie Bohrn’s rich alto vocals bounces around, blessing the chaotic instrumentation.
One of the keys to success for Slow Spirit is Bohrn. Her compelling lyrics are matched only by her incredible voice. On “Woman”, Bohrn effortlessly displays her dynamic vocal range- sounding like an indie Mariah Carey. “I wish I was a monarch butterfly/ When the cold arrives, my wings would carry me to the sun/ I could go back to where I came from” Bohrn sings, shortly before sludge-like guitar riffs reminiscent of stoner metal arrive.
Many of the songs on Nowhere drift in-between shoegaze and garage rock. In that tough-to-navigate space is where the beauty comes. On “Hard Season,” an acoustic guitar meets a punk-rock drumming pattern — an advantageous dichotomy that creates for rewarding consecutive listens.
The experimental curiosity of Nowhere is what drives the record. Influences from Sylvan Esso or late Bon Iver can be heard on tracks like “Paisley Pattern” or “State of Disintegration.” On one of the album’s best tracks, “Sketchy Symbology” opens with a sample of what sounds like fresh snow crunching under shoes. Bohrn sings, “When I see it in my dreams/ I believe it/ I believe in anything” in a cappella before a hypnotic finger-picked guitar supports her alluring melody. The song meanders through a diverse selection of instruments, eventually settling on warm saxophone to close the track.
The unique production is both creative but restrained, which is fascinating when you realize Matt Schellenberg and Matt Peters from Royal Canoe worked on the track. Slow Spirit deserves extra points for remaining true to themselves and not falling into the beastly production style that Royal Canoe enjoys.
The album’s last track, “Italo Calvino,” finds ease in the organic nature of music. The simple folk-inspired song utilizes croaking frogs and open expanse to display the diverse talent of the band. Bohrn seems to have some respite in the existential quandary of her journey.