Tuesday 24 September 2013

Spring King - In All This Murk And Dirt

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

This will be out fourth review of a release by Spring King, and for the very first time we have actual information on the project, who's involved and what it's all about, so finally we can stop bleating on about the mystery of it all. Spring King is the alias of Manchester-based Tarek Musa, the man who is solely responsible for all writing, playing and recording found on this collection which was recorded at home "between a broken bathroom and an empty lounge" (what is it with bands recording in bathrooms? Everyone's been at it of late). So that part of the mystery is solved, and it leaves us to marvel at the fact that one man in those circumstances has crafted a record as good as this. It doesn't sound pieced together, it sounds like a band; it even sounds live at times. Apparently this is being touted as a collection of demos. We suggest he doesn't change them too much

The overall impression given by these ten tracks is one of controlled chaos. The songs almost run the risk of falling apart, but it never quite gets to that point. The most notable aspect is the variety. It may be ramshackle indie-type music, but that's a broad genre and Spring King explores much of it, and more besides. 'Waiting' is almost a false start, leading us to believe that we're listening to something like a modern day, British version of Pavement had they jumped on the recent bandwagon of making as many songs as possible be about summer. The more you listen, the more you hear going on in the background. It may be a little messy (and in this instance that's exactly how it should be) but it's a deceiving little bugger with it. There's plenty of attention to detail and numerous sound layers, this is not your average demo release.

Then it's change after change. 'Not Love' has '60s vibes and a lo-fi spirit that puts it in the same bracket as, say, Hunx And His Punx. It sounds great. A real highlight comes in the garage-meets-girl-group sound of 'Drummer Girl' which again glances back to the '60s but couldn't exist without the guitar music evolution of the last couple of decades. You could describe the warped ballad 'My Sleeves' in much the same way. The piano and backing vocals are genius touches. The simplistic punk burst of 'Dig Deep' is OK, but you can take it or leave it, the same goes for the slightly better 'Potion'; 'Let's Ride' keeps these punk ideals and has more success with the addition of a little psychobilly. Then it's the double-barrelled shambolic assault of singles 'Better Man' and 'V-V-V-Vampire!', but previous songs would have these low down as single choices in my personal opinion, although both are terrific rides. It's another piano ballad (of sorts), 'The Heat Of The Summer', that concludes the album. So the mystery is finally solved, but the magic remains.

Spring King's website

Stream or buy the album

Catch him live:

Oct 19 Night And Day Cafe, Manchester, UK

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter