Spielbergs – ‘This is Not the End’ album review

Spielbergs This is Not the End album review

Spielbergs’ ‘Distant Star’ EP was amongst our favourites of 2018 and now they’re releasing their debut LP – ‘This is Not the End‘ – via By the Time It Gets Dark Records. Following appearances in various sound of 2019 lists and airplay from Steve Lamacq, this release marks the beginning of what is sure to be a spectacular year.

Fuzzy Sonic Youth guitars open the Luniz-referencing ‘Five On It’. Lasting just 2 and a half minutes, it’s a fine introduction to the band’s potent combination of power pop and college rock. EP favourite ‘Distant Star’ follows with affectionate and passionate lyrics about leaving the city and how ‘we could be perfect’ amidst thunderous drums. The sports-referencing ‘NFL’ is packed with stadium rock guitar riffs drenched in effects and feedback and mixes them in with twinkly emo stylings.

There’s a slow-burn opening to ‘Familiar’, which clocks in at 6 minutes and is the first song on the record to find the band moving into new synth-led territory. Mads Baklien’s vocals are on point as he laments the fact ‘I try to change my mind’; ‘I left myself behind’. It has the charm of Mew and the otherworldly enchantment of drummer Christian Lovhaug’s former band, Team Me. There’s more mathy-pop moments on ‘You All Look Like Giants’ – a song that has huge drums, chanted vocals and sambabeat vibes courtesy of Stian Brennskag’s catchy bass line. ‘Bad Friend’ has luscious hooks and a danceable breakdown as the band defiantly demand: ‘Just leave me alone, I don’t want to be part of your future’. Its sound is in a similar ballpark to label mates Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam.

The brilliantly titled ‘McDonald’s (Please Don’t Fuck Up My Order)’ is a 7-and-a-half-minute piece that is largely instrumental in its opening half before Mads opens up about his feelings: ‘I told you what I wanted; you told me that it’s fine’ before things go south. As the album reaches its final throes, the band throw in the huge banger ‘4am’, an experimental interlude in the form of ‘S.K.’ and the closing ‘Forevermore’; a punch-your-hands-in-the-air anthem that combines the lo-fi urgency of Cloud Nothings with the sincerity of Tellison, especially with its powerful lyrics: ‘I felt so bad because I led you astray’; ‘I can’t believe that I left you alone’.

Full of wonder and the sparkle of their fim-making namesake, ‘This is Not the End’ of something for Spielbergs, it’s the start of something very special…

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