Of course, every time you make an end-of-year list, there’s some great act you forgot to add to it. Case in point: Soulsavers. I’ve been listening to the British group’s disc with Mark Lanegan, It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s How You Land pretty much non-stop since the band’s show last Saturday night at the Independent. That performance was incredible – everything I wish the Spiritualized show at Bimbo’s had been.
Dave Pehling, who wrote the piece on Soulsavers for SF Weekly last week, tells me the live act includes a couple of Spiritualized’s guitarists – but the similarities between the two groups didn’t stop there. Lanegan’s lyrics covered similar religious themes as Spiritualized – focusing on revivals, sin, and redemption. One song in particular, a cover of “Spiritual,” with its plea of “Jesus, I don’t want to die alone,” is straight out of Jason Pierce’s songbook. Live, and backed by gospel singers with deliveries powerful as Vegas geysers, the songs were chill-inducing. And Lanegan is the secret weapon of pretty much any band lucky enough to get him to record (Queens of the Stone Age songs sounded so much better with his gravely baritone). He lends extra friction to these moody tracks, and his no bullshit demeanor turns even the most common subject matter – or, in the case of “No Expectations,” a Stones cover – a new, tar-black sheen. I definitely recommend the Soulsavers live show if these guys ever make it through town again. – Jennifer Maerz