Spielbergs’ debut album ‘This Is Not The End’ is everything a good garage rock record should be: Lots of distortion? Check. Catchy, anthemic choruses that come quick and often? Check. Just enough experimentation to make it interesting? You betcha.
During one of the quieter moments on Spielbergs’ debut album, This Is Not The End (out tomorrow, February 1, 2019), a lyric pops through the eerie mist of distortion and feedback: “I told you what I wanted, you told me that it’s fine. You brought me something different, something I didn’t like. And I didn’t bother to complain…” A beautiful depiction of a breakup? Not quite.
But this song — aptly called “McDonald’s (Please Don’t Fuck Up My Order)” — perfectly captures what makes this album so engrossing upon first listen: It’s an earnest account of the life of three thirty-somethings who don’t have any true crises, but are struggling with reality all the same.
It’s relatable, it’s honest, and it’s downright fun.
Oslo’s Spielbergs are the result of Mads Baklien, Stian Brennskag, and Christian Løvhaug blowing off creative steam while hanging out on a Friday night. They’d spent their twenties as mainstays in Norway’s music scene — to varying degrees of success — and traded it in for wives, kids, and adult jobs. Struggling with the lack of creative outlets in day-to-day life, they got together and started writing nameless songs in a nameless band. The only goal? Have a good time.
And they nailed it. This Is Not The End is their second release, after last year’s Distant Star EP, and it’s everything a good garage rock record should be: Lots of distortion? Check. Catchy, anthemic choruses that come quick and often? Check. Just enough experimentation to make it interesting? You betcha.
But what really sets the Spielbergs apart from any band jamming in their basement is the sincerity and earnestness of their approach. Lyrics about being husbands, fathers, and 9-to-5ers, really hammer this home, especially if you’re a fellow aging punk. Most late twenties former-punks still want to rock hard, but you can’t only listen to the Foo Fighters. Spielbergs — like fellow fuzzy-rockers Beach Slang before them — offer an opportunity for these lost listeners to mosh again, while still having the self-awareness that they’re not kids anymore and adulting isn’t easy.
But don’t take this for being depressing. Quite the opposite actually; it really does sound like three friends who aren’t trying to make it big, but just blast through a few tunes in order to forget the boss and the bills and the BS of everyday life. With big choruses reminiscent of … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, the distortion and lighthearted feel of Wavves, and the relentless drive of Cloud Nothings, the Norwegian trio showcase a lot of talent. This is best demonstrated on the ridiculously catchy “4AM”, the face-melting “We Are All Going to Die”, and the gang-vocals-laden “Bad Friend.”
They also show a great penchant for mixing fast and slow songs throughout the record, creating an album that keeps drawing you back in. The aforementioned “McDonalds,” along with “Sleeper,” “Familiar,” and “S.K.,” are sprinkled throughout the album and offer a nice breather. These songs also give an exciting glimpse of Spielberg’s potential moving forwards. Their experimentation with droning distortion and eerie vocals means they could just as easily end up as Sonic Youth as the Hold Steady, or anywhere in between. The possibilities are truly endless—even when it feels like adult life isn’t.
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