Last year Norway’s Spielbergs released their debut EP Distant Star, it was one of the best EP’s of the year. VH said ‘Although at times exhausting in its complexity, this is an absolutely stunning first release’. The band are now about to release a full length album and the sense of anticipation is strong.
Much like the EP that preceded it the urgent start creates an album that is instantly exciting. The opening few seconds of feedback in ‘’Five on it’ nod towards shoegaze and throughout the opener there are occasional buzzes and screeches that continue to draw this comparison. The focus is soon taken with a surf inspired slice of gutter pop which works melodies and hooks into something harder and much more experimental.
With the transition to ‘Distant Star’ the first of many definite single contenders appears, the catchy chorus and gang vocals take modern indie pop away from the larger fuelled singalongs of a large venue and drop them in to a creative melting pot. Sure the chorus is infectious and made for a venue to join in but the floating synths, driven rhythms and angular guitars catapult this track at break neck speed towards a gentle conclusion. This conclusion is blown away by choppy bass as ‘Not for Long’ shows Spielbergs at their loudest and most frantic, with occasional gaps for a breather before guitar and bass lay waste to another hook filled track.
As track follows track with effortless transition, it is clear that this is an incredibly accessible album. Despite the off kilter creativity shown throughout there is an underlying pop sensibility, this is a band that understand hooks and choruses as fully as they understand playful musicianship. On first listen this an album packed with hits but with every further listen there is another moment to discover. The most unusual part is these moments are shared between bass, guitar, vocals and drums almost equally, ‘We Are All Going To Die’ is a prime example: the vocals pair the distant recording style of the Strokes with huge gang vocals, the drums roll throughout creating an almost regimented rhythm behind bass lines that embrace the choppy style of modern punk and the guitars are full of the surf warmth of No Age or Surfer Blood.
There are no limits to the musicianship within this LP, despite individuality of the intros of songs like ‘You All Look Like Giants’ and ‘4AM’ there is a constant sense of purposeful flow throughout this release. This Is Not The End plays beautifully with just the right amount of highs and lows often combined within songs to keep interest levels high from first to last note. This is also one of those releases where almost every song has single potential as they all stand out amongst the collection.
The song writing here is much more than creative musicianship, there are some incredibly relatable lyrics often tinged with dark humour. There are infectious choruses throughout begging to be sung along to but the positive messages amongst these really take them further. Within the wordplay hide comparisons to Tellison’s grasp on real life, the romanticised daily life of Shout Out Louds and the occasional hint of Bright Eyes’ crippling emotion. With the full menu of human emotion laid bare to create songs that are ultimately positive is a triumph. This vast emotional range within the lyrics compliments the vocal range perfectly allowing for moments of tenderness (‘Familiar’), power (‘Bad Friend’) and straight up pop (‘Distant Star’) this is yet another thing that makes this record so utterly individual.
It may be very early in the year but it’s hard to see a way that this release will not be hitting the end of year lists for 2019.
Spielbergs are on tour in FEB
11.02.19 – Manchester – Jimmy’s
12.02.19 – Glasgow – The Garage
13.02.19 – Newcastle – Think Tank? Underground
14.02.19 – Birmingham – Sunflower Lounge
15.02.19 – London – Shacklewell Arms