BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Spain (the band, not the country) found its sound early on and stuck to it: uncomplicated melodies, languid tempos, romantic lyrics and smoky ambience. Nothing has changed on the L.A. quartet’s fifth LP, and that’s a good thing.
Sargent Place (named for the street on which producer Guy Seyffert’s joint is located) is full of the band’s patented 3 a.m. balladry, shimmering on the strength of the blend of guitarist Daniel Brummel’s tasteful licks and songwriter Josh Haden’s dusky croon. “It Could Be Heaven,” “Love at First Sight” and “In My Soul” flow evenly across the hearts of late-night romantics everywhere, and when the band cranks it up on (ironically) “Sunday Morning,” it’s a bracing tonic rather than an unwelcome intrusion. The jazzy “You and I,” which contains one of the final recorded performances by Haden’s jazz pioneer father Charlie, pulls the band’s relationship-obsessed themes to a lovely apex, but it’s not all hearts and bones; the soulful “Let Your Angel” concerns love of a more divine nature, serving as sort of a thematic sequel to the band’s classic “Spiritual.” Sargent Place shows the revitalized Spain moving from strength to strength.
DOWNLOAD: “It Could Be Heaven,” “Sunday Morning,” “You and I”