Rightly described as “a challenge to categorize,” L.A.’s Spirit In The Room have a sound that infuses everything from Black Sabbath and Nine Inch Nails to Jesus Lizard, The Birthday Party and Joy Division. Indeed, on the recently released track “But It Do,” you’ll find them sounding more like a deliciously filthy hybrid of Queens Of The Stone Age and very early Human League, and live performances can see them covering hardcore punks Discharge and Q Lazarus’ “Goodbye Horses” in the same set. Let’s just say that it would be difficult to pick a track that best represents them. But picking a good one? Oh, that’s easy! They’re all good!
The latest offering, the aptly named “Sunset Nightmare,” featuring guest vocals from none other than Black Flag/Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris, finds them absolutely raging. Heavy on distortion, it begins with spoken words from ever-sinister frontman Dennis R Sanders … “I told you that I loved you, but it was really just the imbalance…” before bulldozing into a tune that brings to mind Swedish punks Refused and, of course, Black Flag in a no-holds-barred barrage of noise that borders on insanity. This is not for the faint of heart!
Moreover, in a video directed by Jordan Santos (obviously no relation to the Portuguese soccer player), we find the band paying homage to horror movies such as The Shining, whilst incorporating everything from gimp masks to murderous clowns, ultimately leading to Sanders getting viciously beaten. Not that he is any stranger to a little blood, often damaging himself on stage during incendiary live performances that mark them as arguably L.A.’s best live band.
“If Nick Cave, Lemmy, Elvis, Harry Dean Stanton and Iggy, had a child in a church gone mad… That is Dennis,” read one particularly accurate review. “Half of the stuff I write about has to do with my struggles with psychiatric medicine and how much I believe it’s another form of eugenics that’s killing us all,” Sanders told Kerrang! magazine. “There’s no money to be made out of telling someone to go for a jog or drink more water. Instead, we reach for the pills, and it makes me fucking angry because I’ve been a guinea pig all my life.”
Nowhere is that anger more apparent than here… Sunset Nightmare indeed!