(Liverpool Sound City 2012 flavoured!) Live Review: Spring Offensive at Newcastle Head of Steam – 3rd April 2012

By on Thursday, 26th April 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Oxford has form when it comes to birthing important bands: from influential noisegaze pioneers Ride, through the sadly defunct Supergrass, always in the kitchen at the Britpop party, to Radiohead, who not content with redefining the scope of modern rock several times, have seen fit to bless the world with a number of excellent solo works. Recently, revivalist dance-pop BBC Introducing favourites Fixers and math-rock futurists Foals have been upholding the reputation of the city of the dreaming spires.

Tonight sees the latest in this distinguished bloodline of musicians hit Newcastle. Spring Offensive have released but a handful of tracks; they are still at the beginning of their career, so any claims of belonging to the pantheon of Oxfordian greatness must be tempered with the chance that they might split up, get bored, or fall pregnant before anything of any particular note happens. But…let’s hope not.

In town to promote their second single, ‘Worry Fill My Heart’ (live video below), TGTF caught up with them over a coke in the incongruous environs of Newcastle’s only American-style burger joint, on a mission to find out a thing or two about Spring Offensive.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZyMKy095-M[/youtube]

We learn that the drummer is called Pelham. That they met at school and live together in Oxford. That they count appropriately underground acts Menomena and Silver Mt. Zion in their influences, along with Cumbrian darlings Wild Beasts. Some of their songs deal with being dissatisfied with you’re doing with your life. They’re nervous people, easily frightened. They’re named after the Wilfred Owen war poem, which they were asked to recite live on German radio. They dress as they do (part war evacuee, part ’70s dad, fashion by charity shop consent) so people can’t judge them on their appearance. Or, heaven forfend, accuse them of being Foals fanboys.

They are a superb live band. The Oxford sound is present and correct – there’s a bit of white-boy funk, edgy mathy bits, anthemic choruses – but thankfully all filtered through a clear personality of their own. They have a talent for arrangements, and not just of the quiet-loud-quiet version, either – the songs ebb and flow with the oily fluidity of a calm midnight sea. This is the genuine soundtrack to how the Titanic really sank – gently, undemonstratively, imperceptibly sinking into inky black, all the while a quiet, unspoken unease hanging in the air. There’s lashings of deckhand vocal harmonies; in one memorable moment, the band leave the stage and play with acoustic guitar and voices only. It’s a brave insight into their capabilities; shorn of amplification the effect is if anything even more emotionally powerful.

They haven’t always dressed as they do now – somewhere in the last twelve months the band ditched the checked shirts, stripy t-shirts and skinny jeans for frayed cardigans, woollen tank tops, and beige slacks. Whether this is a genuinely spontaneous rejection of fashion, or a cleverly-worked decision, their sartoriality suits both demeanour and sound perfectly. The very epitome of Dave Gilmour’s famous ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ lyric, “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way”, the whole package evokes a post-war shabbiness, of desolate Anglian marshes interspersed with the skeletons of abandoned hangars: an atmosphere of bleakness punctuated by the hope of regeneration. Simultaneously, they speak to the contemporary retail park mole, the burger flipper, the call centre operative: is this all life has to offer? Could things have been better sixty years ago? Is modern life indeed rubbish? These are the most important questions a band can ask; it falls to Spring Offensive to ask them.

Spring Offensive will appear on the Friday (18 May) of Liverpool Sound City, time and place TBA.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required
 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us

Privacy Policy

Keep TGTF online! Donate here.