Spirit Award Rally for Upheaval on "Unlock the Door" (KEXP Premiere)

KEXP Premiere
Jasmine Albertson
photo by Meredith Paulson

“Is there nothing to scare you to change your ways?” asks Daniel Lyon on Spirit Award’s new single “Unlock the Door.” Before the panicked last seven months, that might have seemed like a poetic line aimed at an indeterminately vague person, people, or scenario. Now, the question is more like a rallying cry that echoes what the frustrated many have screamed in the streets and from their computers over the exasperating last few months.

Spirit Award have never been afraid to ask the hard questions or delve into the bleak, difficult moments of life. Their last album, 2018’s Muted Crowd, covered everything from cults, gun violence, paranormal experiences, and the profound emptiness that comes from losing meaning in life. It sounds like their next record won’t be any lighter.

Titled Lunatic House, the Seattle band’s third record will be out March 5th via Share It Music. Described as feeling, “...a bit like a haunted house. But instead of monsters or killer clowns, we see everyday nightmares: power hungry billionaires, racism, a declining planet, addiction, misinformation, death, and the sins of America's past and present.” “Unlock the Door,” the lead single off the album, asks the question “Who caused the world to suffer and die, while they sat idly by?”

Produced by local wunderkind Trevor Spencer (Father John Misty, Valley Maker) with aid from drummer/engineer James Barone (Beach House, Tennis, Nathaniel Rateliff), the song screeches in with a firey howl and driving drums but is led by a dark, sludgey bass line that gives the song a gritty, nearly-ominous feeling. In true Spirit Award fashion, the song is heavy on the fuzz, with Lyon’s captivating vocals bleeding into the heavy reverb of the throbbing bass to make certain lyrics nearly-imperceptible.

What you do hear, though, such as lines like “Rest in power/ Won’t rest in peace/ Is there nothing but bodies standing in the way” and “Call the doctor/ Call the priest/ There must be a sickness creeping in the streets” pack quite a punch. Lyon had this to say about the song:

“‘Unlock the Door’ is a response to a lot of things I was seeing unfold last year in my life and the world. People dying, or being wrongfully imprisoned and other observations about how humans have set up a way of life that doesn't work for everyone. The song is kind of a call to take a moment and move away all the shit or confusion around you and take stock of what actually matters in life.”


And in case you were worried the band was all talk, fret not. Lyon has committed to helping social, racial and economic injustices by donating 25% of the sales of Lunatic House through Share It Music to the ACLU, helping to fight for individual rights and liberties. Listen to “Unlock the Door,” check out the Joe Rudko-designed album art for Lunatic House, and watch Spirit Award’s 2018 KEXP in-studio below.



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