Lovespirals truly hit their stride with 3rd full-length album, Long Way From Home. Melding the dreamy folk and rock of their debut, Windblown Kiss, with the soulful jazz and blues of follow-up, Free & Easy, the duo seamlessly blend prior influences with new sounds and styles. The sensual voice of Anji Bee spins seductive tales of beautiful sadness and spiritual longing set to Ryan Lum's melancholic music. Bluesy electric guitar abounds, with touches of wistful slide guitar, tinkling piano, and haunting harmonica to evoke a lush, organic, Americana feel. Long time fans of Lovespirals and Love Spirals Downwards will be pleased to hear the duo return to their Dream Pop roots as well as their return to vocal and guitar based songwriting. Bee's vocal harmonies soar confidently alongside Lum's guitar with that trademark blend of childlike innocence and mature sensuality that has endeared her to listeners new and old. And Lum's guitar comes to the forefront of the music as it never has before, with a masterful mix of acoustic, electric, and slide guitar playing, featuring majestic solo work. The heart-tugging blend of Americana and Dream Pop in Long Way From Home brings to mind the quieter works of indie bands like Mazzy Star, Mojave 3, and Red House Painters, while Lovespirals' studio finesse hints at better known artists such as Chris Issac, k.d. lang, or Cowboy Junkies. The influence of rock legends David Gilmour, Neil Young, and Jerry Garcia peek through in Lum's guitar work, while Bee's lyrics and vocals strive toward the exalted sorrow expressed by George Harrison, Tim Buckley, and Nick Drake. Award winning music podcaster C.C. Chapman, of Accident Hash (accidenthash.com), has said Long Way From Home is Lovespirals' best work to date, and the band agrees. In fact, Lum believes this is his finest work, bar none.
For their third album as Lovespirals, Anji Bee and Ryan Lum again create a lush series of songs that synthesizes disparate influences into a warm, enveloping listen. For all that the duo's roots have been seen as being goth, their previous albums touched on a variety of approaches with aplomb, and at this point it's just as accurate -- and ultimately limiting -- to say that Long Way From Home is blues, or country, or rock and roll. It's a blend that has a low-key presentation, an easygoing pace, and an ear for all kinds of unexpected details that change the feeling of a song in an instant without disrupting it. The traditional standard 'Motherless Child,' where the album title comes from, shows this clearly, where the harrowing lament of the lyric becomes a cool flow, Bee's vocals paying homage to famous interpreters of the song like Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holliday without trying to actually replicate them. Meantime, a song like 'Caught in the Groove' has a gentle, echoed percussion flow that sounds like late eighties Cocteau Twins, twangy guitars and piano that suggests majestic early seventies country, and Bee's coolly sweet vocals calling to mind crooners from an even earlier time. This resplendent variety, which defines the sound of much of the album, helps the band further cement its own protean sound, increasingly recognizable on its own merits rather than just being the sum of its many parts. Some individual moments feel very thrilling -- the wheezing guitar/harmonica background to 'Treading the Water,' the sudden low-key funk on 'Lovelight' -- without overwhelming the overall flow, a fine balancing act. --Ned Raggett, All Music Guide
It's very rare these days to come across an entire CD which you will listen to over and over from beginning to the end non-stop, and even rarer to find one which makes you want to grab everyone you know and tell them 'you must listen to this.' However such is the case with the third release, 'Long Way Home,' from the California based duo Lovespirals, consisting of Anji Bee on vocals and Ryan Lum on instruments. Fusing sounds from jazz, chill, folk, Americana and even a touch of country, this latest release will grab you and wrap you in an aural blanket of warm with a soothing hand on the brow that shows off why the indie music scene is our salvation from the commercial corporate music machine, and Lovespirals is one of it's shinning stars. From the opening jazzy/country sound of the aptly named 'Caught In The Groove', to the groovy feel of 'This Truth', to the lazy summer afternoon feeling of 'Sundrenched'; this CD is a wonderful blend of vocals and music coming together in an intertwining dance of harmony deftly expressing emotions in both delivery and composition. Perhaps the one track that shows off their ability to combine emotion with production is the track 'Motherless Child', which had been released as a remix by MoShang on his 'Asian Variations' CD earlier this year. On the 'Long Way Home' version, Lovespirals have gone with a less is more approach and stripped the song down to the barest and starkest in this presentation. Anji's emotion filled delivery holds nothing back in delivering the full emotion of grief and loss. While Ryan's haunting and simple layered guitar work echoes her delivery, but neither overpowers the other, and the two come together to powerfully capture the feeling of being alone and isolated. Throughout 'Long Way Home,' the duo convey a wide range of feelings and emotions as words and music come together or swirl around and through each other in a mesmerizing dance of audio. Lovespirals have found the perfect balance, resulting in a release that never falters from one track to the next that is rare these days, and is the perfect aural vacation everyone should take at least once a day. --Cadence Revolution
Lovespirals have a new album out and its better than anything they've done, I think. Its definitely got a blues infusion going on with lots of guitar. It's really good, I really enjoy the album. And trust me, it is worth the price of admission to get this, if for nothing else than to hear Ryan sliding on the opening track - the guitar is really amazing - and then Anji's sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet voice... She could read me the phone book or a Chinese menu and I would be all happy. --CC Chapman, Accident Hash