“Music is magic. It’s mood management and it’s a way to connect, especially during uncertain times,” shares Leanne Kelly, primary songwriter of New Spell.
New Spell—which also features drummer Jacob Frautschi and producer Max Savage—is known for lavish indie-pop that has garnered favorable comparisons to Beach House, Chromatics, Goldfrapp, and Psychic Twin. The group released its first EP in 2011, but rebooted in 2016, transitioning from an indie band format into its current sleek, electro-tinged edition. New Spell still relies on its sharp, pop-informed songwriting, but it artfully textures these compositions with layers of synth bass, glitchy passages, and a rich tapestry of vibey vintage and modern synth sounds.
This Friday, May 22nd, the San Francisco-based indie-pop duo will release the third and final installment of its Of Time EP series. This particular release is an important entry in New Spell’s catalog, as its mesmerizing synth-based aesthetic points the way to the future of the group who now operates officially as a two-piece plus producer. Spanning 4 years since the release of Part I, this project weaves a dystopian thread throughout, reflecting a time of unprecedented upheaval and asking questions that have no simple answers. The Of Time EPs are highly conceptual. Throughout this body of work, Leanne explores the passage of time through a variety of lenses while also delving into the impact of the digital age, climate change, and current socio-cultural trends on our lives and our mental health. Her perspectives here are uniquely informed by her master’s degree in psychotherapy.
Today Glide is offering an exclusive early listen of Of Time: Part III ahead of its release this coming Friday. Reminiscent of synth pop groups like Phantogram, Sylvan Esso and Hundred Waters, the album finds the band wavering from dark and sensual electronic tones on opener “Easier” to somber and dramatic piano pop with ominous synth effects on album-closer “Forgotten”. In between, we get a dynamic range of sounds, from the brooding beats of indie-disco dance anthem “Future’s Wild” and the sinister, soaring pop of “Home” to “Where You Are”, a song that beckons with blissful synth-pop positivity.
Leanne Kelly describes the inspiration and the process behind the album:
“Four years ago, when we started our Of Time EP series journey, we never imagined that the final chapter would be coming out during a pandemic. But here we are, and there’s something oddly fitting about releasing it now. Intended to reflect our musical growth over time, the series was also intended to allow for reflections on the times we are living in, the intense struggles we face, and the beauty we find along the way. We chose to call the project Of Time because it provided a framework for the theme and process, but also because of how it fits with the band name, a reminder that we are constantly living in a new spell of time.
Part III contains some deeply personal elements. ‘Future’s Wild,’ for example, was inspired by the relationship with my now-fiancé and was written on a laptop in the back of a tour van. ‘Easier’ and ‘Home’ capture some of my anxieties over what the future holds for us and our planet. And ‘Forgotten’ and ‘Where You Are’ contain gentle invitations to try and live in the moment, which has become an increasingly difficult task in a time when we are forced to deal with loss and uncertainty in such profoundly individual ways. But I’m buoyed by the creativity and community I see all around; the connection that we maintain through music, art, and love through all the most difficult times.”
Of Time: Part III is due out May 22nd. For more music and info visit newspellmusic.com.