Album Review: Spring Offensive – Pull Us Apart

By on Friday, 18th June 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

Though you’ll have to wait until July for a free download of Oxford indie band Spring Offensive‘s next project, a 5-songs-in-one-track EP titled ‘The First of Many Dreams About Monsters,’ you need to know about their debut album ‘Pull Us Apart.’ Having only been together for 3 years, this quintet’s debut is subtle, yet complex, and has a maturity beyond what you’d expect from such a young band. It has no gimmicks and it isn’t an attempt to jump onto a trend, it’s just a solid album that gets better and better each time you listen to it. The more you settle into it, the more different parts come to the forefront that you never noticed before. And it’s not just me that thinks this album is great, it has been receiving a lot of praise from the media, with BBC1’s Huw Stephens singling them out as a “BBC Tip of the Week” and Alcopop! Records choosing to include them on an upcoming compilation.

‘Pull Us Apart’ is a short album, coming in at just under 30 minutes, but each of its seven tracks is so good and so interesting, both musically and lyrically, that you still come away from it satisfied. Album opener ‘I Found Myself Smiling’ starts out simply with almost whispered vocals over plucked guitar, and builds up slowly, getting louder and more intense throughout the song and reaching its first crescendo in the chorus: “If you want to find your lover / I suggest you slide into the river / like the rat that you are.”  But the best part of the song is at the end, where they repeat “As the water rose my knees, I found myself smiling” in powerful vocal harmony before transitioning seamlessly into the next song. The single ‘Every Coin’ (watch the video below) is “the tale of a man forced to literally eat the entire contents of his wallet”. While it may be hard to relate to lyrics like “get the first one down / the others will follow / as long as it takes / every coin must be swallowed”, the song is irresistable anyway. In the verses, the vocals are chanted and almost yelled at times, over thumping drums and hand claps, and just when you think they’re going to really let loose in the chorus, they draw back – genius.

Another standout track is ‘The Cable Routine’, a song about suicide, with lyrics like “Here I stand on this hotel balcony ledge / three feet of cable wrapped around my neck,” which manages to simultaneously convey depression and fury. The stop-and-go rhythm and varying volume of ‘Everything Other Than This,’ a song which describes their own band on the verge of giving up, perfectly conveys the feeling of wanting something to work so badly and feeling like it’s falling apart. Just as stunning is ‘Slow Division,’ a final message written onboard a sinking ship, which features some beautiful guitar playing, and true to the album as a whole, makes great use of contrasting loud and quiet. Final track ‘Little Evening’ is understated and gorgeous, just a simple melody over quiet guitars, eventually fading into static.

If they can come up with a debut album this impressive, just imagine what they’re capable of in the future. Spring Offensive is certainly a band to watch.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/9609732[/vimeo]

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[…] About Monsters By Mary Beth Howard on Friday, 20th August 2010 at 12:00 pm Here on TGTF we introduced you a couple of months back to Spring Offensive with their debut album ‘Pull Us Apart,’ and […]

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