Before Kurt Feldman and Christoph Hochheim became a part of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, there was The Depreciation Guild, a dream pop trio with some 8-bit leanings.
Spirit Youth finds The Depreciation Guild embracing even more deeply their Jesus and Mary Chain inspired roots and ditching most of the Nintendo chiptune influence that set the band apart from all those other bands that like Jesus and Mary Chain in the first place. It’s a little regrettable. The spastic nature of most 8-bit music juxtaposed with the dreamy nature of shoegaze made their debut full-length In Her Gentle Jaws… a really interesting and unpredictable release. With the taming of the 8-bit beast, Spirit Youth plays like a never-ending dream sequence.
There are some good tunes. “My Chariot” begins with what could be the intro music to any Super Nintendo Final Fantasy game and Feldman picks up on the 8-bit melodies as soon as he starts singing. His vocals are the best aspect of this album, more reverbed and spacious than those recorded on the band's last outing, and especially effective on soft pop songs like “Blue Lily” and “November”.
Ultimately, The Depreciation Guild try to show us another side of themselves. They want to get out from under the chiptune niche, but I think they left some important things behind. The songs are solid but they run into each other and you can listen never knowing where one begins and another ends. At least they've succeeded in making excellent headphone music. The kind of stuff you put on a mixtape for a girl you like but that you would never blast from your car with the windows down in the middle of summer. I think they are okay with that.