Single Review: Spring Offensive – The First of Many Dreams About Monsters

By 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 now they’re back with a free download of their new ‘mega-single’: ‘The First Of Many Dreams About Monsters.’ One 13-minute track composed of 5 sections or themes, it takes its inspiration from Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s concept of the grief cycle, which at its most basic is that after a loss the griever goes through the five stages of grief in any order: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

They wrote the record after doing a lot of research into Kübler-Ross’s theory (first theorized in 1969’s On Death and Dying) and her personal life, which included 4 miscarriages and a fire burning down her house. But the concept of ‘The First of Many Dreams About Monsters’ is even a bit more complex than that…I’ll let the band explain:

We don’t want to lay out what the song is about w.o.r.d. f.o.r. w.o.r.d. That is no fun: it’s like turning up to a dinner party only to announce that you have a bomb strapped to your thigh. It is just important (and at the same time unimportant) to state that this is not a record about Kübler-Ross. It is not a record that imagines losing a child. It is about the act of imagining. We sing about writing about grief. The intensity of it. The importance of trying to make some sense of it.

While the concept of this ‘mega-single’ is heavy, both in tone and in complexity, there’s a lot to love about it beyond the concept — the music is fabulous. The first stage they address is denial, exploring the “sickly feeling they got” singing about grief that wasn’t theirs with powerful lyrics like “he says he’s an artist, he says he’s an artist / who says he will take what I miss and make it live through bursts of noise / But I won’t let him be flecked with my blood / and pretend it is his own.” True to the theme of denial, there is a tentative quality to this section, as if they’re being cautious around the intruder they warn of.  Anger is simply represented by the line “petrified in a lab room bell jar.” There’s a pleading quality to the bargaining stage that is incredibly fitting, punctuated by bursts of gorgeous harmony. They sing “gentle heart guide me to my car / take my broken hands and help me steer / lead me blind and speaking into the darkest canyon deep.”

Depression is the most stripped-down — and to me the most powerful — ‘stage’ on the record, with almost ethereal, defeated-sounding singing over a barely audible tone that as it reverberates becomes more and more distorted and disturbing to listen to, and at the same time even more captivating. Just as captivating are the lyrics, which are both beautiful and heartbreaking: “I was lost in a frozen wood / And I was held by its dirty roots / Close to the earth but far from you / Oh little joy.” And just as the depression stage reaches its peak, you come to the acceptance stage, which is chanted by the band almost as if its a mantra: “This is our corrective grieving animal incentive / I know we deserve it / I hope we can learn from it.”

The first time you listen to ‘The First of Many Dreams About Monsters,’ you may like it, but you probably wont grasp all of the subtle intricacies that make it truly amazing. So do yourself a favor and download the record, and then sit down with the “‘lyrical-art’ collage” that comes with it and study it. Then you’ll realize how well Spring Offensive has fit the lyrics to the music to the concept, while remaining perfectly enjoyable beyond the concept — you won’t regret it.

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One Response

12:57 pm
20th August 2010

Such a great track- you can read my thoughts here:
http://atthesinema.co.uk/?p=1737
Thanks!

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