NYC via WV musician Dylan Balliett releases Shame, his third album as Spirit Night, on July 17th
On Shame, Balliett brings to life a cast of accidental murderers, alcoholic creeps, and shut-in paranoiacs to explore themes like loss of innocence, the mundanity of evil, and the struggle to define a personal identity in a world filled with both horror and beauty in equal doses. Taken all at once, Shame feels like a cathartic purging of psychic pain, a direct confrontation with failures of the past along the path to personal redemption. Balliett tempers the heaviness of the album’s subject matter with touches of irony and humor to lighten the mood and the final takeaway is an outlook of optimism and triumph in the face of suffering.
Written during a period of social isolation following Balliett’s move from Appalachia to NYC, Shame combines and refines the sounds of Spirit Night’s previous releases to arrive at a unique brand of folk-influenced jangle pop. "In Case You Come Back" twinkles like a snowy Dean Wareham daydream while following a grieving widow whose magical thinking has her believing her dead husband might still return. “The Last Hurrah” is an anthem of avoidance, detailing one character’s struggle with acting on the decision to get sober. “Crossing Atlantic Avenue” is a walk of shame past minor Brooklyn landmarks that calls to mind a subdued Smiths as echo chamber electric guitar shimmers above a krautrock-inspired drum pattern. The album shifts stylistically from song to song, touching on upbeat power pop (“Walk Away”) and muddy dirges (“Hospital Bed”), bedroom singalongs (“Couch”) and fuzzed-out folk-rock anthems (“Sylvia”), all while maintaining the same thematic tone and focus.
Spirit Night’s Shame is an unrelenting vision of trauma and regret worthy of repeat listens this summer.
First press info: 500 copies black vinyl
1. Running Shoes
2. Walk Away
3. Hospital Bed
5. Sylvia (World of Hate)
6. The Last Hurrah
7. In Case You Come Back
8. Tell That One Again
9. Crossing Atlantic Avenue