Reissues can be a tricky proposition. On the one hand, they can be a good way to introduce newer fans to the band’s catalogue of work, pulling out the best loved tracks and serving them up in one neat package. On the other hand, though, they can offer a richer experience for more established fans, delving into the band’s past to pick up long-forgotten tracks.
Its this second option that Swedish hard-rockers Spiritual Beggars take on their self-titled double album reissue. The record is a compilation of unreleased material and demo versions of very early tracks from the band’s stoner rock beginnings. Listening to ‘Yearly Dying‘ and ‘Pelekas’, its interesting to hear a flicker of the more polished sound the band have developed over their near-thirty year career. Most surprising is the change in sound from original vocalist Christian Sjostrand‘s guttural shouts and sleazy calls, bringing on a grungy aesthetic, in comparison to Apollo Papathanasio‘s classic-rock enthused vocals that dominate the band’s most recent release, ‘Earth Blues‘.
What transcends the band’s history though, is the passion in the music and the heavy riffs. ‘Under Silence‘ boasts some pretty fast-paced guitar strumming, with the band not afraid to push themselves towards something more creative, more precise than the average band with a simple four-four beat.
CD 2 goes deeper into the rareties, pulling out classics from the band’s more psychadelic leanings. ‘Let The Magic Talk‘ is grunge with a strong hint of Pink Floyd-esque rhythms. Overall, its a mix of genres and sounds, but they show the band’s leanings that lead to their current state.
One for the more diehard-fanbase than those simply scratching the surface, the double album carries plenty of previously unheard or rare material and provides an interesting insight into the musical history of the band, from changing members to developing styles.
Reviewer: Natalie Gardiner