“Life is Spiritual” C36
(Crash Symbols)

I honestly cannot list any more than ten words Nick Drake had ever sung. My attention was always on the guitar; just how in the hell were which of his fingers plucking which and how many strings in what succession?! 

His breath might occasionally embellish a hammer-on; a consonant hiss or glottal tip-tap might have lent a sliding twang some added weight, but I sure as shit wasn’t hearing any sort of story or sentiment. The black feeling of his soft, inner howl could be counted on to depress my spirit sufficiently, while his convo-lute-d wizardry would reliably bewilder and entertain me, forever.

Neither Frank Hurricane, nor his Hurricanes of Love, for that matter, are Nick Drake. Though “Life is Spiritual” boasts a fair equivalent to ND (and Mississippi John Hurt, more specifically)’s six-string mastery, his (FH’s) Voice (both physical and literary) is the EXACT OPPOSITE, in terms of relaxation and mental mutability. Which is to say, you will listen and you will listen hard to what Mr. Hurricane has to say!

You will learn of myriad shady Appalachian characters (and otherworldly denizens, as well!) who engage in various illicit acts. You will be exposed to an egregious glorification of unregulated Schedule One and Schedule Two substances, and their copious consumptions. You will witness the word “spiritual" transform itself into the trisyllabic “spear-a-chill” & you will become aggressively woo-woo’d. Your lexicon will expand and redefine itself markedly through some slang and appropriation that I’m fairly certain but unable to prove right now is just made the fuck up for this specific album, but, it like, just sounds really cool and fun and definitely has both Merriam and Webster doing dusty pirouettes in their graves. 

You will definitely find yourself in the company of others, hours later, with an insatiable desire to release the impassioned earworm “OOOOHH-OOOOOH, JUH-GAH-LOOOOO-OOOO-OO” with a snarky soulfulness you’ve always knew you had and had better suppress but now it hurts more to do so.

All sung & dunn, you will feel like you’ve just hung out with the crazy sumbitch that is Frank Hurricane, and you’ll wonder just how in the hell he’s lived so long without getting stabbed over rights to a Smokey Mountain still. Enjoy from the safety of your own stereo/altar.

RIYL: Old Crow Medicine Show/early Akron/Family/Robert Plant's vocal affects, MJH’s finger-style virtuosity, stories about uppers, ghost stories about uppers, & uppers in general, I guess.


— Jacob An Kittenplan