In the Spirit World Now is full of layered sonic fury and anxiety, each song building up to a point and then descending down through a militant, catchy hook. “Turn Away the Bad Thing” sets the tone, guitars climbing around the driving bass line, as Ross Farrar sings, “It’s getting harder for me to be alright/Eyes adjusting to the dark/The momentum of all these last resorts built inside of me.” Songs like “Presaging the End” and “Calming Water” feel romantic and distressed, while “Further I Was” and “Years of Love” are driven by Farrar’s rebellious energy as he repeats the hook with a deadpan realness. “Years of love can be forgotten/In the hatred of a day.” But the true stand-out is the title track, In the Spirit World Now, a haunting pop gem with a sticky chorus and lead synth riff that plants itself in your head as Farrar chants the track’s name over and over like a mantra.
In the Spirit World Now is a sort of nebulous and ectoplasmic place where things may not be quite what they seem,” he says. “It means sh*t is about to get weird.” The album marks a milestone for this Northern California punk outfit who have stayed true to themselves as songwriters throughout massive sonic growth throughout their storied career.