Spring Offensive - Pull Us Apart - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Spring Offensive - Pull Us Apart

by Dan Clay Rating:7 Release Date:2010-06-14

Though lyric dexterity might be the norm in Oxford, it's unusual to find a band with as much punk-angst amidst the dreamy spires as this emerging five-piece. Treading a similar line to their close neighbours Radiohead, Spring Offensive's debut album Pull Us Apart impresses in its brief running time, mounting a pleasing offensive on the ears.

No doubt fed up with being likened to their world-conquering Thom Yorke-led neighbours, Spring Offensive's sound owes more to recent influences, mixing Bloc Party's energy with Franz Ferdinand's guitar play. Acoustically there's touch of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly in each song's punchy rhythm and plenty to suggest Lucas Whitworth's vocals echo The Miserable Rich's James De Malplaquet on the slower arrangements.

Recorded in a couple of weeks over Christmas, Pull Us Apart displays the sound of a band confident with itself but setting out on journey across the waters. Like the rise and fall of a wave, songs build to a mini-crescendo before softening to a slow groove as on 'The Cable Routine', a dark but intriguing effort punctured by stomping drums and a soft guitar melody. Opener 'I Found Myself Smiling' grabs attention straight away, no doubt a live favourite, with its electronica fused with crunchy guitar, ending surprisingly a capella.

The album's tales are what intrigue most though. Lead Single 'Every Coin' takes the inequalities of wealth to a bizarre extreme, telling the tale of a man forced to eat his wallet's contents. "Please take a drink it seems to help/The hundreds obscene coughing up on their wealth/Get the first one down the others will follow/As long as it takes every coin must be swallowed," sings Whitworth against a soft strum backing. 'Slow Division' gives us a sinking ship's final message, 'Abacus Rex' provides a take on the life and death of mathematician Alan Turing while the acoustic 'Little Evening' rounds things off more slowly. "This is not how I imagined it would be," the first line begins as the Death Cab for Cutie influence emerges. Any surprised listener might be feeling the same.

With a European tour this summer to promote new EP The First of Many Dreams About Monsters, it seems Oxford's new graduates are going out into the world with stories to tell, keen to find others which will shape future songs. An assured debut and certainly one that deserves to see them on the offensive.

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