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Spielbergs - This is Not the End (Album Review)

Friday, 15 February 2019 Written by Huw Baines

To listen to Spielbergs’ debut album, ‘This is Not the End’, is to picture a room of people in black jeans and denim jackets, with the flash of a white sports sock above a tattered pair of Vans classics. It’s to picture sweat, euphoria, a giddy release of hoarse voices and spilled beer. If you are in your 30s, and coming to terms with the fact, it knows you. It feels the same way.

All of which is to say that this Norwegian band operate in the same wheelhouse as Japandroids, the Menzingers and many others who are content to snap out of the drudgery of their day-to-day with a power chord and a hollered whoa-oh. One of their first pieces of press, a loving but realistic write-up from Ian Cohen at Stereogum, weighed in with this: “Congrats, you’re a new band that set its exact coordinates to that of the 30-something rock dude. Good luck with that.”

What Spielbergs must do, then, is take ingredients that go stale very quickly and make them feel fresh and exciting. Their first EP, ‘Distant Star’, suggested they had the chops and guile, forged during stints in indie-rock bands a decade ago, to do so, but they were a couple of steps off the pace when it came to pulling things together into a whole.

‘This is Not the End’ remedies that in sterling fashion. Two thrilling highlights from the EP—Distant Star and We Are All Going To Die—are carried over and situated among a number of songs that match them, and another handful that ably expand on Spielbergs’ sound in supporting roles. There are pockets of post-rock, retro keys and straight-up power-pop here, all wrapped in a sort of weary abandon.

There is a push-pull dynamic at work throughout, which situates ‘This is Not The End’ closer to the real world than the sickly nostalgia of the band’s name would initially suggest. It feels tired in a modern sense—tamped down by rent, expectations, small dreams that didn’t materialise, minor changes that went unnoticed. “I wanna leave this city,” Mads Baklien sings on Distant Star. “But tell me what to do.” On the beautiful closer Forevermore: “In the beginning, when I was young, I had the chance to be anyone.”

Where Spielbergs have succeeded is in making their origin story—essentially as a side-project to the members’ real lives—one of the least interesting things about them. These songs spring from a place of boredom and misplaced creativity, which will strike a chord with anyone who begins five days a week crammed onto a commuter train, or who regularly looks over their shoulder to a time when they cared about things. We are all going to die, indeed.

Spielbergs Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri February 15 2019 - LONDON Shacklewell Arms

Click here to compare & buy Spielbergs Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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