One thing you need to know as you approach Spiritu's eponymous debut: expect the unexpected. On the surface, the New Mexico foursome appear to be just another stoner rock band, and yet their music boldly faces the risk of generic pigeonholing, and counters it with the most obvious and, at the same time, most elusive antidote of all: great songs. Sure, nine-minute opener "Z" may evoke shades of Australian space rock/prog rock weirdos Alchemist; their cover of the old Sir Lord Baltimore nugget "Woman Tamer" may smack of stoner rock supremos Monster Magnet (not least because Monster Magnet recycled the song's distinctive ascending riff elsewhere); "Glorywhore" may stretch its melancholy tendrils into Alice in Chains territory; and the whole thing is, of course, blessed by the spirit of Black Sabbath. But the members of Spiritu manage to integrate these touchstones in such convincing fashion that the resulting, peculiar blend easily stands up on its own terms. They also have an ace in the hole in expressive vocalist Jadd, whose surprising power and range exceed all the usual stoner rock limitations to resemble a less operatic version of Iron Maiden legend Bruce Dickinson -- no kidding! Even more surprising, there are moments on Spiritu where commercial accessibility seems like a perfectly rational proposition, and the deft touch of producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney) can also be clearly heard on standout cuts "Fat Man in Thailand," and the comparatively concise "Clean Livin'." As yet another long but satisfying track, "Slump" brings the album coasting to the finish line; there's much here that suggests a bright future for Spiritu.