The title track to Stūrī Zēvele’s new album Labvakar (“Good Evening” in Latvian) sounds like something written by friends who are getting together in their personal retreat free to enjoy each other’s company while indulging the time to let their creativity flow where it will, trusting in their personal chemistry to refine their songwriting on the fly. The music video for the song displays the band in a home lit by candlelight while they bring out instruments and try out ideas but not like it’s a job. Like it’s something fun that they do that sometimes results in a song they can share with other people and often enough it’s something that was just fun on its own that may inspire ideas to explore further. That spirit infuses the easy and affectionately introspective tone of the song. Like it’s written from the perspective of a band taking stock of where they’ve been and appreciating the process that has kept their band around for fourteen years. The group, originally from the small town of Kuldiga, Latvia, is now based out of the capital city Riga, is perhaps hinting at its origins of small town life where they learned not to put too much pressure on their art and to keep it something they love doing together. Musically the song, and the rest of the record for that matter, has much in common with American indie pop from the 90s in that its sophistication of composition and creativity in the use of unconventional instruments as well as synths/keyboards and standard rock instruments creates a world of sound and storytelling that is easy to get lost in even if, like this author, you do not speak Latvian. It would be facile to compare the group to a famous alternative rock band like Mumiy Troll, post-punks Kino, psychedelic folk legends Akvarium, progressive synth pop group Zodiak but to American ears there will be some sonic kindship there. Comparisons aside, fans of Elephant 6 artists will appreciate what Stūrī Zēvele has to offer. Listen to “Labvakar” on Soundcloud, watch the video on Vimeo and connect with the group on Bandcamp where you can order a limited edition vinyl of the record.