alt="Spirit Gun - Antonym (2022, PowerStep Records) COVER"Photo: Jeff Hewitt

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Spirit Gun – The Antonym

Release Date: December 23, 2022
Label: PowerStep Records
Format: EP | CD/Digital
Duration: 13:34 | 4 tracks
Genre: Garage Rock / Punk Rock
Origin: Norfolk, VA, USA

The Wolves Howl Again

Virginia’s Spirit Gun were formed in 2018 by long-time friends Pete Overstreet (guitar and vocals) and Oren Lev (drums and vocals). The two had known each other since the 1990s and finally began realising their shared love for rock music. Spirit Gun’s original line-up also featured bass player and vocalist Stephen Siegel who still contributed to the 2020 EP New Eyes. But as Heraclitus said

the only constant is change

and so, the year 2020 became tough for Spirit Gun since Stephen left the band and the pandemic shook our planet. Recording, touring and even rehearsing were put on hold until Peter and Oren met Tony Burgess who completed the band perfectly and since then is the new bass player of Spirit Gun. Like the two other members of the band, the new musician whose name reminds of a British author also contributes to the vocals. Thus, Spirit Gun are back again: the classic line-up has been restored with a new member, and consequently here is a new release: The Antonym.

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Jeff, this is for you!

The four-track EP The Antonym is not just the first release by Spirit Gun in their new formation, it is a release in commemoration and in honour of the band’s friend Jeff Hewitt who has passed away way too early. As an artist, as a true friend, as a person full of ambition, love and great visions, Jeff Hewitt had a great and positive impact on his environment in Norfolk, Virginia. Jeff took many photos of Spirit Gun and thereby captured moments by making them immortal by the power of his lens and shutter. Now, that he is not with us any more, his memory shall live on like is arts. Therefore, the EP The Antonym is the sonic commemoration of him.

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The Hymn for Local Bands and Artists

The opening track 9:30 is an anthe for all the local bands who invite their friends to their shows. Apart from the Misfits-like howls, the song is mostly filled with the typical phrases that the musicians get for reply: „What Time You Going On?“ (before the gig), „Sorry, I couldn’t make it to the Show“ (the day after), and „Sorry, I just can’t say no“ (when asked why they did not tell in the first place). Music-wise, 9:30 is an activating Punk Rock banger that does not leave any questions, and that shows that three phrases can be enough to make a great song. The content is about the reality bands and artists have to deal with these days. So, this is a direct address to the readers:

Go to concerts! Support your local venues and artists! And do not just show up for the main act!

Raphael L. Genovese (MangoWave)

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High Speed Journalism: The Antonym

The title track reveals the choice of the EP’s name. The Antonym used to be the name of a website hosted by Jeff Hewitt. Often times, events and happenings were already posted and talked about on the website hours after they took place. Such dedication deserves a hymn of praise, and here is the song for the „King of the Hit Parade“. The honouring of Jeff’s amazing photos and contributions is a massively rolling Garage Punk banger that once more comes with Rockabilly-ish „ohhh-ohhh-ooooh“s. The Misfits-feeling cannot be denied here, nevertheless Spirit Gun do not make this sound like Horror Punk at all.

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Change is omnipresent and faster than Life

The third track No Reverse is about the only direction that time knows: forward. You may want to look back or even desire for time to slow down a little, but there is no mercy. On this stoic Garage Rock tune, Spirit Gun come to terms with this movement and look forward.

Although moving back is impossible, looking back is not. And thus, the nostalgic final track Shorty Red is about a person called Shorty Red whom the band members used to know in the 1990s and met again twenty years later. It is a slow jam on heavy riffs that deals with memory, change, and consistency. The melancholic track is opened by a smooth bass intro that leads into some 1980s style Punk Rock, and it is a great finale for this EP.

Moving on

The Antonym sure contains a lot of melancholia and memories. Nevertheless, Spirit Gun present a sound that was born from minds whose clocks are still ticking. This is no nostalgia-only good-ol‘-days-Cock-Rock EP, but a sonic memory of a beloved person, realised by three musicians who are still looking head and moving on. Spirit Gun breathe life into Punk, Rock’n’Roll and Garage Rock without providing us with a dusty re-hash. In parts they remind of a calmer version of New York’s Mad Mulligans, and the EP The Antonym makes you want to hear more Spirit Gun sounds.
7/10 Mangoes

All pictures by courtesy of Spirit Gun.
The cover artwork shows Jeff Hewitt, the photo was taken by him, too.
The Antonym was recorded by Spirit Gun at I3 Studios.
Mixed & Mastered by Chris Kendrick at Whiskey Bear Studios.
Handclaps on 9:30 by Chris Kendrick.
Band photo by Matt Francis.

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