Spouse | 04.25.07

Cautious at first of the native frostbite, they penetrated the modest Minneapolis venue with an almost aggravated introduction to their album.


7th Street Entry, Minneapolis

Minneapolis has a reputation for frigidity that effectively daunts humanity well into the late spring months. Even when the austere bite of winter has retired from a season of freezing fingers, the Twin Cities have a way of provoking cautious admission.

Spouse, on tour promoting the release of their fourth album, Relocation Tactics, infiltrated the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis in such a manner on their April 25 show. Cautious at first of the native frostbite, they penetrated the modest Minneapolis venue with an almost aggravated introduction to their album. Spouse took the stage with a high amount of energy and volume-a bit overpowering at first, as though challenging the severity of the city with the severity of their own instrumental vigor.

However harsh the winters in Minnesota may be, these tundra-like months are precursors to lush and magnificent seasons to follow. In following with the tradition of Minnesota weather, Spouse warmed beautifully into the season of their music well before the finale of Tactics' title track. The initial severity of the song quickly melted into a delectable concoction of indie, alternative, and rock. By the time the group transitioned into the next song in the set, "Hangover Cure for Humanity," their energy was phenomenal, and it showed. The group shared a fervent jam session, then drew in the crowd with the genuine forthrightness of their lyrics: "Is this what you want me to say? Is this what you want?"

The intrigue of the music compounded in the tracks to follow as the group's cohesiveness became more apparent with every passing moment. "Hunting For Some Good News" revealed an impressive array of emotion as the sweet, soft, despondent song transitioned into a slightly uncomfortable, nagging overtone at its culmination. Spouse continued to show off their musical diversity through a collection of songs ranging from the whispery alternative and mournful "Long Live the Baystate," to the accosting alternative-rock "Thunder Royale," to melancholy indie-alternative, "Boys vs. Girls," to high-energy boosts of indie in "Tonight," and "Spouse Visits the World Bank." This effortless evolution of their music proves irrefutably that transitioning is truly Spouse's forte. Additionally, their intuitive lyrics project a gentle way of saying harsh things-an inconspicuous talent that sets apart the "good" from the "great."

The group, nine members in all, functions astonishingly well as a fragmentary entity. Nothing seemed amiss as four of the group's nine took the stage at the 7th Street Entry. José Ayerve, lead singer, introduced Kevin O'Rourke at the bass, Dan Pollard at the guitar, and JJ O'Connell at the drums. The New England group filled the brief silence between songs with jovial quips about Dick Cheney, Mac computers, and antifreeze problems with their van on the road. Their down-to-earth projection engaged the quaint crowd late on a Wednesday evening, in a season filled with thawing snow and lush, magnificent music.

Spouse's tour to promote Relocation Tactics is not a stationary effort. Their "Relocation Tactics" are smartly progressive and winsome. This group's uncanny ability to transition effortlessly is certain to bring great success to their continuing tour, as well as to the promotion of their fourth album. | Amanda Pelle

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