Ennio Morricone's spaghetti-Western film scores had more of an impact on rock 'n' roll artists than big-screen composers. Indeed, it's difficult to imagine how bands like Fields of the Nephilim and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds might've created some of their best works without drawing inspiration from the dusty splendor of A Fistful of Dollars.
One group that's eager to extend Morricone's sonic trailblazing is guitarist/vocalist Kirpatrick Thomas and his Los Angeles compañeros. Together, they make up Spindrift, an instrumental (with spoken-word accompaniment) band specializing in druggy desert rock and featuring plenty of reverb-ed Fender guitar. Picture the Man With No Name doing bong hits with the Velvet Underground in a Death Valley cavern, and you get the idea.
Thomas' godlike voice comes and goes, supposedly telling a linear story, but it's vague and lacks recurring characters, so none of it sticks in your head. Who cares, though, with music this gritty and adventurous? It's the Old West with a psychedelic-rock twist, and once you saddle up with the spooky "Preacher's Theme"—a delicate finger-picked guitar refrain that introduces Native American drums and chants—dreamtime won't feel so alien anymore. "Burn the Church," meanwhile, is frenzied, B3 Hammond organ-pounding fun, and the perfect antidote to the lazy snake oil that is today's indie rock.
Whether you're into jazz, film scores or instrumental music in general, Gun's aim is dead-on.