The release of Spring King’s debut albumTell Me If You Like To comes at a good time for the Manchester outfit; slotted in neatly between their biggest headline tour to date and a calendar of festival appearances over the summer. The band’s hype and the anticipation for this debut LP were reaching fever pitch thanks to a series of successful singles: “City”, “Who Are You?”, “Rectifier”.
Tell Me If You Like To is built on Spring King’s brand of fast, exciting garage rock – the sound that earned the band recognition from all the right people in all the right places. However, a darker undertone is present on this record that isn’t always so noticeable in their music. 2014 releases ‘Demons’ and “Mumma” were suitably sinister and post-punk inspired, but more recent singles introduced a sunnier side to Spring King.
The aforementioned singles, and a brand new one entitled “Detroit”, whet the appetite of all those who put the quartet on a pedestal, praising them for their attempts at garage rock revival – arguably something that’s in short supply in British music nowadays.
A handful of reverb-heavy, gloomy tracks paint a contrast to peppier tunes – namely “Can I?” and “The Summer”, which are undoubtedly more radio-friendly. Despite producer, drummer and singer Tarek Musa’s almost pop-punk vocal delivery remaining consistent throughout, his songwriting jumps between light-hearted and darker themes.
Spring King seem to have called on surf rock influences in some tracks (albeit more FIDLAR than The Beach Boys), conjuring up images of sun-kissed Californian summers, rather than the rainy Manchester nights that come to mind when listening to “Take Me Away”. The name of this song alone is enough to register a hint of escapism in this LP.
Despite a number of really, really good singles, Spring King’s debut album turns out to be a bit of a hodgepodge – lumping together one too many sub-genres of rock to surround the frenzied garage that they, or at least a lot of other people, want them to be making.
Tell Me If You Like To ends up being the wrong kind of debut album from what is a very promising band. The LP relies on its singles, which are shoehorned in; and even though they are each brilliant in their own right, it makes the album feel a bit safe and honestly, a bit of a cop-out. Spring King were always more likely to be future Reading and Leeds headliners than Mercury Prize winners, but their confidence in their musical ability will likely grow and with that, they will (hopefully) return with a bolder attempt.
Spring King offer a couple of awesome singles that manage to salvage some amount of credibility for what is a largely disappointing debut.