Packing in all the energy of a Jesus Lizard or Cows show with almost none of the associated dangers –assless chaps are so passé– to stand on the periphery of a Spiritual Wives show is to linger on the edge of a teeth-rattling cataclysm. Respect this volcano. Sacrifice virgins or deposit your recyclables here at your own peril.
Shoehorned onto a bill on the East Side’s Liberty at 1:20 a.m. or so on a Saturday, the wives provided a cherry atop a SXSW sundae of strained synergistic efforts marred by senseless tragedy.
The show must go on, and go on it did, doing what Austin does best, turning spaces into makeshift venues, transforming a bar alcove into the site of a thundering 35-minute torrent of near-headbanging, sweet tinnitus and the aggressive joy of witnessing a drummer trying to dig a hole to China by beating the holy hell out of his kit.
Vocal duties for the songs see-saw between Trey Ramirez’s observational deliveries in a convincing Guy Picciotto-esque flair and a Jason Reece declarative urgency in the vein of an Icky Mettle-era Archers of Loaf, exploding over open chords, harmonics and distorted melodic progressions, provoking tinges of glee to any fans of Jawbox, Arcwelder and the delicious Touch N’ Go, AmRep and Dischord cannon.
Five minutes into a Spiritual Wives show and you know you’ve stumbled across something that will affirm or renew your faith in music and help you forget that the 00s were a decade lost mostly to shitty emo bands.
Jason can be found playing with And You Will Know Us by The Trail of Dead, Trey with Pack of Wolves, drummer Erik Conn with Tia Carrera and bass player Alec Padron with Curse the Heavens.
Following an initial 18-month incubation period that produced only nine shows due to the members’ other band commitments, the Wives are gaining momentum and surfacing at an almost biweekly or monthly clip, having also just released a couple of demos in advance of a full recording. The results are promising.
SXSW Six Pack is a look at six Austin bands worthy of your attention, even if they didn’t get invited to showcase this year. Check out the first Spiritual Wives recordings on their Soundcloud page.
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