SPIRIT IN THE ROOM will release their long-awaited new EP, Flamingo, via Housecore Records August 26th, today unveiling a stirring mini film for first single, “The Bird Of Paradise Alights Only Upon The Hand That Does Not Grasp.”
If you ever wondered what goes on in the head of a film noir hitman, horror novel asylum inmate, or a golden age silver screen villain, it might sound something like SPIRIT IN THE ROOM. The vision of Louisiana-born and Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Dennis R. Sanders unfurls through cigarette smoke, cheap booze, and distortion like an anachronistic fever dream soundtracked by a collision of gothic vocal hues, immersive alternative architecture, and jarring metallic catharsis. It’s scary at times. It’s sad at other times. However, it’s always unpredictable — especially on SPIRIT IN THE ROOM’s 2022 debut EP for Housecore Records, Flamingo.
“Flamingo is a character,” notes Sanders. “It could be anybody who lives a chaotic-slash-exotic lifestyle. There has been a bird presence in my family for the longest time. You’ve seen flamingos; they’re beautiful and strange. Flamingo could be a stripper or an errand boy for some really scandalous entity. To me, Flamingo is just very after hours.”
In advance of the EP’s release, today the band releases their new video/mini-film for “The Bird Of Paradise Alights Only Upon The Hand That Does Not Grasp.” Standing as the EP’s centerpiece, the track builds from haunted and tense verses into a head-nodding groove punctuated by thudding bass. Soon, Sanders’ voice warbles, “I’m not dead,” as the momentum tosses and turns towards a melodic bloodletting. Mirroring this manic ebb and flow, the accompanying music video produced by American Primo channels David Lynch and ‘90s indie thrillers all at once.
“It’s got a pulse, and you can’t really do shit without a pulse, to be honest,” he says. “It’s about obsession and falling in love with something or someone who is bad for you. Meeting this new person, moving into this new house with these chaotic individuals… something about that pulse opened up the floodgates for me to sing about those things.”
Flamingo Track Listing:
1. If You Must
2. My Body
3. The Bird Of Paradise Alights Only Upon The Hand That Does Not Grasp
5. I Used To Be A Machine
SPIRIT IN THE ROOM remains comfortable in the dark. Audiences initially met Sanders as part of Black Light Burns. However, he introduced SPIRIT IN THE ROOM during 2010 before revealing a series of projects — The Holy Phobia, Pt. 1 EP (2014), Demon (2015), and Spirit In The Room, Vol. 1 EP (2019) —in between various singles and countless shows. Along the way, the band also performed on bills with the likes of Deftones, ††† (Crosses), Scour, and more. Receiving critical acclaim, Kerrang! applauded, “SPIRIT IN THE ROOM are a special kind of band,” and went as far as to christen Sanders, “a dark poet for dark time.” Cvlt Nation confessed, “I’ve been hooked on the dark passion of their at times contradictory, always hard to define sound. And you should be too.”
Throughout the Pandemic, Sanders went through a heightened level of hell on earth (even for 2020). He left one chaotic environment to “live in a room in a big house in the true Los Angeles neighborhood of El Sereno” as part of a fraught situation “that got increasingly violent.”
When all was said and done, he found himself sleeping in his truck, at the studio, and at a girlfriend’s place as he wrote and recorded Flamingo in the eye of this storm, singing and playing guitar, bass, synths, and piano.
“I’ve realized I never really had a home,” he observes. “There are five songs I’ve written about that. Then there are some paranoia vibes until it explodes because you’re so emotional you can’t control your reaction. The end of the EP resembles becoming the new person you are, which is not necessarily a good thing.”
Beyond “The Bird Of Paradise Alights Only Upon The Hand That Does Not Grasp,” “If You Must” swings like a pendulum in the motion of a gothic industrial waltz as his voice shakes and shivers. Wild piano and guitar drives “My Body” to a lyric he always wanted to start with, “Eat shit!” With its tribal-style groove and schizophrenic delivery, “Venting” siphons fear into an off-kilter melodic refrain punctuated by his unrestrained delivery. Clocking in at over six minutes, “I Used To Be A Machine” doubles as his version of “The Shining.” Its maelstrom of guitars grinds up against the query, “Who gave you permission to speak? I’m done!”
“Lyrically, it deals with your shadow self—whoever you are when you’re alone, angry, emotional, or overreacting,” he states. “I wanted it to be another one like a car crash.”
Once you enter Sanders’ mind, you’ll never leave.
“There’s a lot of drama on Flamingo,” he leaves off. “You’re going to find it’s best to not get really comfortable with whatever I’m doing right now, because it’s going to be completely different on the next EP. I learned to be an artist from artists who don’t have boundaries. I’m not afraid to take risks.”