With The Legend of God's Gun, Los Angeles' Spindrift have recorded one of the greatest film soundtracks ever set to tape. Of course, odds are you haven't seen the film. It's a small-budget feature of the same name that centers on the band's thrilling score, which makes it the rarest of romances between cinema and music, one where the soundtrack trumps the film itself.
The Legend of God's Gun soundtrack borrows from the Ennio Morricone playbook; grizzled renegade cowboys light matches across their coarse stubble on their way to some dusty shootout in the ol' corral. Except in Spindrift's world, things are really trippy. It's like a shootout at Burning Man, or dueling with Gram Parsons at Joshua Tree. The stark tumbleweed and dust are present, but they're trumped by the synapse-frying effects of all those psychedelics you just took.
Spindrift's songs feel downright vintage in nature, and each instrumental track builds with frantic recklessness, before dropping out completely into softer, nearly ambient, tones. The songs of God's Gun transition from guns-a-blazin' shootouts to mellow tripping, all within a few minutes. The lows are so low they might as well re-title the film A Fistful of Downers. Meanwhile the highs swell with a natural machismo that begs for a cinematic moment to match their brilliant nature. A villain ominously standing in the swinging doors of the saloon? A knife fight over some stolen horses? The options are endless.
Of course, you can't tastefully soundtrack a film in the Los Angeles zip code without crossing paths with Quentin Tarantino. The filmmaker, and notable compiler of quality movie soundtracks, fell for the band and is using a track of theirs in the upcoming Tarantino-produced Dennis Hopper flick, Hell Ride.
The roots of Spindrift are lost in a druggy haze that seems to shroud the band at all times. Supposedly they started way back in 1992, have eight records under their belt (or perhaps under their bandoleer), and the band's founding member, Kirpatrick Thomas, did time in the reform school for bad boys known as the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Well, that would explain the drug part, but how this band stumbled from Los Angeles to Tombstone is beyond me. But when the result is something as grand as The Legend of God's Gun, it doesn't really matter.
Spindrift perform at the East End (203 SE Grand) on Fri Jan 18, and at Revolver Studios (532 SE Ankeny) on Sun Jan 20.