Spindrift: The Legend of God’s Gun

[29 September 2009]

By Sarah Moore

Hallucinogenic spaghetti western and spooky rock ‘n’ roll flood the soundtrack to indie flick The Legend of God’s Gun.  Spindrift released their The Legend of God’s Gun soundtrack in July, and it is in the same vein as their successful The West on the Dandy Warhols’ Beat the World label.  Featuring members from bands such as the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Warlocks, Spindrift illustrate hazy psychedelic desert scenes and gunslingers in ghost towns.  Conjuring Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack for A Fistful of Dollars, a Spaghetti Western from the late 1960s, Spindrift play similar textures with 1960s influences.  The Legend of God’s Gun is Clint Eastwood on mescaline.

Influenced by the Velvet Underground and Jim Morrison, singer and songwriter Kirkpatrick Thomas has penned an epic set of songs that paints images in the mind via lyrics and sound ingredients.  The story in the listener’s mind might be just as cool as the film inspired by the music.  Spindrift create a sound and a setting through common spaghetti western tools (i.e., baritone guitar, tremolo effect, whistling, etc.), some Native American tribal drumming, and the spirit of the Great American West.  Spindrift’s blood-thirsty ballads and vivid ghost stories thread around the central theme of an untamed west. 

A booming, god-like voice (think Don LaFontaine) narrates the events on several tracks including the introduction, “In the Beginning ...”.  He illustrates the plot of the movie, setting the stage of criminals, untamed land, bullets, and sin.  Essentially, a set of events pits El Sorbero (“number one bad guy”) against the Caveman (the bounty hunter hired to get him). 

A lonely whistle in the distance begins the track, as chimes set the stage for a little bit of creepiness.  Something sounds a little spooky and unknown.  Right about now is the time the peyote sets in.  A whip and ghoulish laughter segue into the next track, “Titoli” (also the initial track title from the Fistful soundtrack).  Just as abruptly as the crashing cymbals had entered, a vacant wind rushes, signaling a sudden rush of instrumentation.  A raucous song that plays the ominous baritone guitar (Henry Evans) against stacks of percussion and tambourines (Dan Allaire and Jason “Plucky” Anchondo).  The narrator comes back to describe the scene in the title track, which brings together jangling rockabilly guitars with the moaning of ghostly cowboys.  Between every few lines, a cavalry of men (a.k.a. the “ghostly cowboys”) sings in a manly chorus of grunts and rugged cowboy “ahhs”, both in and out of key. 

The soundtrack preceded the movie, and it’s easy to see why.  The mental pictures formed can go from sinister gunslingers to a psychedelic desert, as images rendered mix with a psychedelic, haunting sound. 

One of the most intriguing tracks, “Conversation with a Gun”, starts as quiet acoustic guitar (Thomas) and baritone slowly wander.  A sluggish harmonica (Dave Koenig) keeps winding its way into and out of the forefront.  Moans add a slightly haunting effect.  Thomas’ deep vocals are manipulated, sounding almost like it was recorded underwater, as gurgling and warps in the vocals help with the psychedelic vibe.  The deep and low effect on the almost-spoken vocals sounds like a nitrous warp.  Finally, don’t miss the sauntering “Speak to the Wind”, the quiet-to-chaos “Girlz Booze and Gunz”, or the disco/prog-rock “The Scorpion’s Venom”.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/111913-spindrift-the-legend-of-gods-gun/