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Spiral: The Death Of Billy Jensen

If ever you needed an indication that the Spiral journey was going to be a complex one, then simply delve back to the band's July 2010 debut, where the track listing will, if nothing else, illustrate that this is an outfit destined to do things on their own terms. In fairness it is an outlook that has over seven albums and nine singles in just over three years, served this band amazingly well. Although singularly focused and uncompromising music and intelligently woven lyrics obviously haven't hurt either. Now I know that sounds like a stupefying amount of music in a short space of time. However the continual quick-fire returns have allowed Spiral to grow and mature at an incredibly smart pace. Back in mid 2010, debut effort The Death Of Billy Jensen was slowly constructing the blueprint that that has gone on to make this band so interesting. However truth be told, this first outing was more of a toe in the water than a dive bombing skinny-dip. Keeping the themes muted and singular in pace, although in terms of concept it is far from unambitious. Rather than try to unravel it all for you, here is part of the synopsis from the band themselves...

Meet the Jensen's, your not so average family living out somewhere in the sprawling desert of the west. The Jensen's lineage is not traced like yours or mine, instead the family has lived for generations birthing exact genetic copies of themselves. Every generation the youngest Jensen (Billy Jensen's little sister) kills all of her brothers one by one. After each kill she becomes miraculously pregnant and rebirths the brother she has just killed. After each of her brothers have been reborn she gives birth to herself. Her head caving in as her younger self crowns and so on, until the entire family is renewed. Because of this unique situation Billy is the only Jensen that remembers both his Mother and his sister.

Enough already I hear you cry, for this is not simple, nor straight forward stuff, but then Spiral never are and this debut sets the stall out for a mix of space, prog, psych, drone that on paper shouldn't work but which in practice most certainly does. Unfortunately at this stage Spiral don't quite manage to make the music as grand as their lyrical intent, with the execution being more than a little straight laced for such weighty ideas. However that's not to say that promise of what was to follow over the next two years wasn't in evidence and even at this stage "Child Of The Earth" or "Jensen's Death" sound little like anything else in your music collection.

Better than a tentative first step, if The Death Of Billy Jensen was the first helping of Spiral I'd received, I would certainly be queuing up for more. However, as I have, I suggest you do the trip (In A Minor - an in joke for those who read on through all of the Spiral reviews!) in reverse. Either way you'll find a unique band who dares not to compromise, while making some of the most rewardingly bleak music you will ever hear!

Track Listing
1. Jensen's Theme 1
2. Dirt
3. Jensen's Last Words
4. Jensen's Theme 2
5. Jensen's Little Sister
6. Jensen's Little Sister 2
7. Child Of The Earth
8. Cripple
9. Jensen's Theme 3
10. Jensen's Death
11. Mother

Added: December 13th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Spiral at BandCamp
Hits: 1593
Language: english

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