Review Summary: Full-fledged nostalgia.Spiral Power
is rooted in nostalgia, but for experiences I haven't even had. It’s a strange sensation, to listen to the album and get lost in thoughts that belong to someone else-- they’re vivid, even, as if I’m being strung along in someone else’s fantasy world. Bansheebeat is the one responsible for this sense of deja vu without cause, because his world is illuminated in exactly the way he wants it to be. He aligned Spiral Power
’s inner architecture as he liked, steady and careful, and as a result the album conveys his thoughts to us, channeling them into our subconscious.
As a result, Spiral Power
specializes in its own breed of cerebral storytelling. Maybe its most definitive moment is “Tepplin,” pure ecstasy with no shame-- the track shows Bansheebeat at his most instinctive, so it may be the most telling piece here. When its chorus kicks in there’s not a worry in the world; neither is there in the places the song causes me to imagine, like losing myself in the foot traffic of the congested city, taking in the neon lights above as a guiding light of sorts. And while strolling through the streets on the way back home, “Ninetails” wouldn’t be out of place, a grimy track that functions best when most of the world’s fast asleep. See, Spiral Power
patches together a set of ideas that only its creator fully understands-- but the way it relays its intricacies to the listener is what makes it such a special and relatable journey.
As intoxicating as Spiral Power
is, there are a couple of issues that bring me back to reality. Some of them are simple enough, like minute production choices that don’t sit well with the the music at hand. Sometimes the drums sound too sterile, like “Forgotten You” and its frail snare drum. It works,
but lacks the oomph from which the song could be benefitted. On another note, some of the vocal-driven tracks find themselves falling under their own weight, with their vocal samples lacking that magnetism that’s necessary for maximum potency. In particular, “Mononoke-Hime” features samples that are slightly off-key, detracting from the track’s otherwise exciting momentum. For such a musically rich song, it’s a shame that only one element-- sure, its most important one, but still-- could negate its impact as much as this sample does.
The album also has an inconsistent mood, though, and this is a more pressing matter. For most of Spiral Power
, the atmosphere at hand is crystal-clear and easily imaginable, but in other parts the music feels more reaching. When the record aims for subtlety it instead achieves passivity, breezing by without as much as a stir. See “Magnetic Rose,” a tune that wants to be tense, but falls short because of its stagnancy. The song relays a similar message for more than five minutes, and dilutes the momentum the album had acquired up to that point. This wouldn’t be a problem if the subtler ideas were more scarce, but when they comprise entire tracks that serve as cornerstones of the record, things get a bit drab.
’s other ideas are more engaging, and come closer to warranting longer track lengths. A fair amount of them lack the devoted passion of “Tepplin,” or the neon brilliance of “Nightosphere”-- two longer tracks that absolutely have to be as lengthy as they are. But this just makes me realize that this record would function best as a familiar listen all the way through, so that all the tales it tells are of more uniform importance. Spiral Power
wants to drop us off in a world we’ve never experienced before, or at least capture the magic of a distant place as if it’s where we were all along. But while much of the record succeeds in this, it also gives the impression of needing time to blossom. Bansheebeat has proven that he understands how to deal full-fledged nostalgia in spades-- now he just needs to find a way to disperse it more evenly.