Spell Talk keeps giving even those with just a pinkie finger on the pulse of the Utah music scene something to talk about. With no signs of slowing down, the 2010 City Weekly Music Awards winners’ forthcoming album Touch It! will keep the band’s momentum rolling forward toward a three-week tour—their longest to date—with an appearance at the College Music Journal Music Festival in New York City on Oct. 18 as a capstone.
Before firing up—or fixing up—their new-ish Econoline touring van for the long haul to the East Coast, the psych-rockers will appear a number of times around Utah to commune with their home crowd. This will help fuel their spirits, but the ticket and album sales will literally help put gas in the tank.
Spell Talk has matured from their fledgling days when they banded together in Ogden; that was when they went by The Naked Eyes. The trio—consisting of bassist and vocalist Jared Phelps, drummer Sammy Harper and guitarist and vocalist Andrew Milne—moved to Salt Lake City in 2009 for its more-happening musical scene. “Salt Lake is a great town and might break out and do something cool for rock & roll,” Phelps says
After the move, they exchanged their old name for Spell Talk—after pressure from the ’80s British new wave band Naked Eyes over naming rights—and have also experimented with a couple of different lineups. Their new and current lead guitarist, Elle Rasmussen, has been a friend of the band for more than four years, which has created an easy cohesion. Phelps says Rasmussen is fitting in well, both on a musical and personal level.
Now with a solid four-person lineup in place, Phelps envisions the band making big strides in the upcoming months. “We definitely want to push [ourselves] to the next level,” he says. This goal-oriented yearning shows on Touch It!
This, their second full-length, is direct, effective and unapologetic. From the get-go, the first song “Can’t Keep” seems eager to capture their sound “in its truest, live state,” as Phelps puts it. The song “What Hand It’s In” confirms that their style is still fun and as relateable as it’s always been, whether they are gigging at The Urban Lounge or recording in the studio.
Phelps says the band’s musical evolution has led them to what he describes as “candy rock.” “We are loving that direction,” he says.
Spell Talk recorded Touch It! in just two days to “get in [to the studio], get out and keep the music going,” Phelps says. This, at times, leaves some rough edges, especially with Phelps’ and Milne’s vocals. But the music is still solid. This album is their best recording yet, which they hope to use to gain new fans on their biggest tour to date and to garner notoriety in the city that never sleeps.
CD Release Show
w/ Max Pain & The Groovies, Dark Seas
The Urban Lounge
241 S. 500 East
Friday, Sept. 30, 9 p.m.