by Griff Stevens
The Spencer Lee Band has been perking ears since the bands song “The Wolf” gained notoriety on the Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack earlier this year. Led by Kansas native and Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Spencer Lee. Their sound is rich and imbues soul through funk, pop and R&B with confessional lyrics brought to life by Lee’s strong raspy voice. The band is now releasing their self-titled debut EP that has four tracks, three originals and a cover of the Beatles, “With a Little Help From My Friends.”
“Kissing Tree” starts with an excellently performed falsetto melody that is the chorus set to a repetitive acoustic guitar pattern that allows the focus to be Lee’s vocals. The verse is in Lee’s middle register and we get to hear his rich sonorities and blues inflections. The tune evolves overtime with layers of vocals and finger snaps. When the band enters, the energy rises as the funky groove supports Lee’s outstanding vocals. The horns add a nice touch and bring in the soul and R&B flavors.
Lee shows his balladeer mastery on “River Water.” With just an acoustic guitar, Lee sings his heartfelt lyrics about being homeless in L.A. when he first moved there. The purity and soul inflections of Lee’s vocal style can be heard throughout the track. His voice is focused, and the bridge of the tune demonstrates his powerful vocal control and ability to build a track to its emotion and musical completion with an emotional impact.
The EP is a nice amalgamation of different textures from Lee, his ability to create a malleable varied approach lends to his versatility. From acoustic tunes like “Kissing Tree,” to “River Water,” to the electrified tunes that have a cool 70s vibe like “With A Little Help From My Friends,” to the updated rock sound of “The Wolf,” the only complaint is it left me desiring to hear more. Not a bad problem to have in the grand scheme of it all.
Tracks to sample first: “Kissing Tree,” “The Wolf” and “River Water.” The song to take a chance on is “With a Little Help From My Friends.”
The Spencer Lee Band
- Release Date: August 17, 2018
- Label: Republic Record
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