Spring King ‘Tell Me if you Like To’ – Review

18 Jun

When Zane Lowe premiered his Beats 1 Radio show, the first song he played was by a young Manchester band called Spring King. It reminded me that for all his stateside rebranding, Zane made his name as the radio equivalent of NME, championing Young British Indie bands during the boom years of 2003-2008. With bubblegum melodies over somewhat tame, neutered post-punk, Spring King would have melted in to the background at that time but with a lack of competition, they have emerged, in no small part due to Zane’s patronage, as 2016’s most hyped new band.

Though exhausting, the hype isn’t entirely unwarranted and it’s easy to see why the old-guard publications have fallen for Spring King. They look good, sound proficient and make grungy rock with pop gloss. The razor sharp hooks of ‘Detroit’ and ‘Summer’ dice their way in to your memory through repetition, and it’s always refreshing to hear guitar music like this pepper radio playlists. But the unashamed familiarity of Spring King’s sound brings out the cynic in me. There is such a glaring lack of originality that is frustrating not just because they mimick classic bands but because they mimick newer and better (but less buzzy) bands.

Spring King pitch themselves somewhere between the dark bark of Eagulls and the frantic pub-rock of Palma Violets. In fact if you heard any of these songs from a distance you might mistake them for one of those bands’ tunes. Spring King fail to carve out their own name but end up with an enjoyable and filler free record nonetheless. It’s a typical example of a major label taking an alternative sound and watering it down for a mass audience. It does the job. And underneath the scrubbed and polished surface there are some genuinely interesting ideas. The brief sax break near the end of ‘who are you’ is an unexpected joy. The hooligan chants that reverberate around ‘City’ add a dark dimension. The Harmonies on ‘The Summer’ are blissful.

Trek Musa does enough to mask his lack of inherent vocal ability by shout singing over organ swells, choppy guitar licks and foot to the floor drumming. There is a lack of danger and violence that would have elevated these songs to a more exciting space but it is what it is. ‘Tell Me if You Like to’ is a fine major label debut by a young band with enough potential to be given another chance.




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