(Soft Magic Records, June 25 Release) Named after the miniature ornate shrines built to shelter and appease spirits in Southeast Asia, Spirit House serves as its own tranquil refuge to process grief, find peace and focus on the healing nature of love. Led by former King of Prussia frontman Brandon Taj Hanick, the current who’s-who cast of Future Lives features Annie Leeth, Nicholas Mallis, John Neff (Drive-By Truckers) and Nick Robbins (Velveteen Pink), among others. Through its bittersweet tenderness, opening track “Huckabee”—dedicated to the memory of artist and musician Mina Kim—begins to introduce the themes of love, death, forgiveness and the passage of time that permeate the DIY Americana band’s second album. The wailing pedal steel, soaring violin and gentle piano take an even more somber tone on “Homebound,” a song written shortly after the death of Hanick’s mother. Between the creeping darkened melody of “The Weight Of An Endless Morning,” the plucky starry-eyed love song “Legend” and the tropical tune “Zeptosecond,” Hanick exhibits a wide sonic range that consistently prioritizes his lyrical storytelling. Pair the rootsy “Ah Lay Loh” and poppy “Brother of Mine” to hear the best of both worlds. Catch Future Lives at the Forest Heights Blueberry Festival on June 26.
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