Tag Archives: New Spell

New Spell’s “Of Time – Part II” Casts a Spell with Its Intricate, Dark Dream-Pop

2 Oct

New Spell is a San Francisco-based duo known for dark, dynamic, cerebral dream-pop. The pair’s music is intricately layered, with multifaceted textures from synth-centered soundscapes to complex rhythms and crystalline vocals.

Singer-songwriter and keyboardist, Leanne Kelly, serves as the unifying force behind the duo’s sound. Jacob Frautschi handles the drumming and producer, Max Savage, also contributed to the latest release with additional synths, guitar, piano, ukulele, and glockenspiel as needed on the tracks. Other guest artists contributed performances to the EP as well.

Of Time – Part II is the follow-up to New Spell’s Of Time – Part I, released in 2017. Both collections demonstrate Kelly’s skill in creating vivid worlds and telling stories through her music and lyrics — with soaring vocals and powerful keyboards. This is not your typical synth-pop — it washes over you — immersing you in the experience, while touching you with lyrics that examine what it means to be human.

Track highlights:The first song on the EP is stunning. “You Win” explores the role of honesty in a relationship, with the repeated phrase, “And so, lies, you win.” Kelly’s voice over the swirling, swelling keyboards is strong and piercing, buoyed by Frautschi’s urgent, tumbling drumming.

Track 2, “Like Water,” is more pensive and moody — with reassuring synth strings and Kelly’s doubled vocals. The brief lead break is intriguing, almost jazzy, mixing synth arpeggios with crisp drumming.

The last of the four songs on the EP is the title track. “Of Time” is set in 3/4 time, dancing and floating along with the help of a toy piano, strummed guitar, brushes on drums, and Kelly’s wistful vocals. It’s fragile and uplifting as it examines our relationship with the passage of time.

Kelly has also included acoustic versions of two of the compositions, “Of Time” and “Like Water,” on the EP. This is another strong release from a Bay Area band that you may not be familiar with.


San Francisco’s New Spell Delivers Spellbinding Dark Indie Synth-pop

16 May

New Spell is a San Francisco-based duo consisting of songwriter Leanne Kelly on lead vocals and keyboards and Jacob Frautschi on drums. The two have been together for awhile as New Spell has progressed through several evolutions, arriving today at a sound the band describes as dark indie synth-pop.

On New Spell’s Of Time – Part I, Kelly creates swirling soundscapes with her layered synths and spellbinding vocals — with a sense of mystery and edginess to a number of the tracks. The arrangements are intricate, with precision production. Lyrics are cerebral and thought-provoking.

Of Time is a four-song EP that will be followed at some point by a full album. If the songs on this EP are any indication, that should be a very exciting release to look forward to.

Track highlights: “Rain” is a propulsive track that opens Of Time with skittering synths accompanied by Kelly’s strong, slightly ominous vocals. There’s also an awesome rhythm-driven bridge.

“The Space Between” features a bouncing, pumping rhythm mixed with a fuzzy synth bass and piano. The vocals are lightly tripping, with distortion added at times and rich harmonies in the chorus.

“Never Change” slows the pace with sustained synth chords, a deliberate tom-tom beat and airy vocals that soar into lush harmonies. Brass-like synth accents are added at times. The entire track is reminiscent of a Naked and Famous song, with a lead break by Kelly near the end that could be Keith Emerson’s keys from legendary Emerson Lake & Palmer.

The final track on Of Time is “Familiar Tune,” and this is definitely lighter and more delicate overall with playful keys and fragile, warm crystalline vocals. Synth orchestration envelops the melody.

New Spell is a local band that’s definitely worth your time. By the way, they’re currently touring and will be in Sacramento, Mountain View and Los Angeles in upcoming weeks. Check out New Spell’s Facebook page for details.