Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2018 June 04 • Monday

The similarities between Spirit's "Taurus" and Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" seem to amount to a guitar figure and that's it. If you could own guitar licks then Charlie Christian and Chuck Berry would have been zillionaires.

So never mind all that. But we will take a moment to consider Spirit's music for the movie Model Shop, our 520th Soundtrack of the Week.

The first track, "The Moving Fan" is a laidback instrumental with the guitarist playing some jazzy octaves. Should Wes Montgomery's estate sue Spirit? Basically it's a vamp on a few chords, and has some tension and suspense while being relaxed. The vibes add atmosphere as well.

"Mellow Fellow" immediately creates a different feeling with what sounds like a Fender Rhodes and Latin percussion. The guitar sound is closer to acid rock now and the tune eventually takes off into a kind of psych-jazz jam.

After that is "Now or Anywhere", the first vocal number. It's kind of in the Black Sabbath vein and while the singing could be stronger it's a solid song. It ends with an instrumental section that sounds like some of Popul Vuh's stuff.

Then things heavier but also funkier or more soul-influenced with the deep pounding groove of "Fog", another vocal number.

"Green Gorilla" is a gentler tune, with piano laying down a pulsating background for more jazzy guitar octaves. The energy rises and falls gently, aided by percussion.

Then there are some tracks with strings, and a few others with interesting mixes of jazz and rock and even exotica elements. "Coral" is a drum feature, with Ed Cassidy on the kit playing an extended solo.

The last song is "Aren't You Glad", and those three words are sung over and over while overdriven guitar plays lots of long-sustaining notes and the band occupies a '60s-rock groove.