Spring King’s highly anticipated debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’ is finally here and it doesn’t disappoint. With the sound of a band who are ready to take advantage of their recent rise in profile, it’s everything we would expect from the Manchester four-piece as they pummel the ears with a collection of fast-paced, riotous songs fit for any party soundtrack.
It’s only fitting that the album opens with the clattering sounds of ‘City’, the song that gave them their breakthrough. Zane Lowe’s bold decision to launch Apple’s new radio station Beats 1 with a song from the then unsigned Spring King would go on and have a massive impact on the band; they were soon surrounded by unprecedented levels of hype and a record deal with Island Records swiftly followed. For a band, who would record songs in singer, drummer and producer Tarek Musa’s bathroom, this was pretty big stuff.
‘City’ acts as a great introduction to the album which rings in at just over 30 minutes long with ten songs. Musa’s desire to construct the perfect chorus is what fuels most of the record; it is full of massive hooks and catchy guitar riffs with singalong moments which ache to be shouted back in unison by big crowds. The fact that we have heard five of the songs before doesn’t matter given the crisp new levels of production, most obvious on the meatier ‘Who Are You’ and ‘Demons’. Their new budget thankfully doesn’t threaten the DIY ethic that made them such an interesting prospect in the first place; their jagged guitar riffs are loaded with distortion, allowing their pop choruses to be wrapped in garage-rock and post-punk textures.
Behind the infectious tunes though are darker lyrics. On ‘Detroit’, Musa sings ‘I don’t know what there is to do, I feel like I’m breaking into two’. No scales can balance out my destiny’. However, at the same time, only a mad person would resist the urge to frantically tap their foot along with it. Elsewhere, ‘It’s So Dark’ with its alt-rock leanings, the haunting ‘Take Me Away’ with its spacey, chiming backing and the more sombre ‘Heaven’ show the band have more to offer than simply an intense racket.
It’s inevitable of course that some of the songs on the album work better than others. It has to be said that they sound at their best when they’re at the most jagged and raw; you can’t help but feel that they hold back at times. It may not be the most sophisticated release of this year, but who cares when it’s this fun? Songs like ‘Rectifier’, ‘Who Are You’ and ‘The Summer’ ache to be played loud and will no doubt go down a storm at this year’s festivals. A strong, intense debut from Spring King; just be prepared to need a lie down afterwards.
This Spring King article was written by Suzanne Oswald, a GIGsoup contributor. Photo credit : Amin Musa