Spielbergs Show How Good Things Comes to Those Who Wait on 'This Is Not the End'
On This Is Not the End, Spielbergs create a joyfully optimistic set of musically candid, emotionally transparent, effervescent indie rock anthems in waiting.
This Is Not the End
By the Time It Gets Dark
It's hard to abandon your dreams and walk away from something you love. After years of touring in various bands and sleeping on floors, drummer Christian Løvjaug and singer/frontman Mads Baklian, from Oslo, decided to do just that. Joining the nine to five and starting a family, the pair moved on, renouncing their rock 'n' roll dreams. That was until the pair felt that familiar creative itch creeping back and realised they needed to scratch it. Getting together with bassist Stian, the newly formed band got together and just played, with no expectations of what might come from it.
The threesome quickly clicked, reigniting a passion for the music they love that had been turned down to a flickering pilot light over the years. Daubing themselves Spielbergs, the band promptly caused a stir with their debut single "We Are All Going to Die", followed by their Distant Star EP. Now the band are releasing their appropriately titled, debut album This Is Not the End. A testament to never giving up on your dreams, it delivers a stunning mix of digestible, bite-sized chunks of anthemic indie rock, rousing punk, and post hardcore experimentation.
Opening on barrelling waves of distortion, "Five on It" is a stunning, thunderous celebration of just being alive. The band manage that remarkable thing of making rock music seem easy as they just plug in, knock out a few hooks and then race to a chorus that sounds like it's been around forever. This approach works even better on "Distant Star" where the group simply can't wait to get to the chorus, like a school child enthusiastically showing off their latest multicoloured masterpiece. It's the kind of song that lasting careers are made from.
On "NFL", Spielbergs give the instruments a little more space, toning down the noise to give the song some breathing room. It proves to be a classic example of misdirection as the calm is soon broken by a storm of squalling guitars that guide the song to a frenetic conclusion.
Thankfully, Spielbergs have found room for their brilliant debut single, "We Are All Going to Die". Riding a cavalcade of pounding drums the song resembles a sleek, supersonic jet taking flight before it quickly smashing through the sound barrier. With every instrument locking together, managing to sound both in sync and at odds at the same time, it's hard to believe that this was the first song the band wrote together. As they lose themselves in a whirling maelstrom of noise, it's easy to believe that the band may well have thought it was the only song they would every write together.
The more emotional,"Familiar", finds the band exploring their post-hardcore roots as slashes of guitar chords are soon abandoned for circling arpegios that drift, as if floating off over a distant horizon. Both "You All Look Like Giants to Me" and "You're a Bad Friend" share huge, continent stradling choruses that hark back to those heady days to when indie compilations were chock full of era defining anthems just like these.
From there, things get really interesting indeed. "McDonald's (Please Don't Fuck Up My Order") sounds nothing like you'd imagine. Rather than an instantly gratifying hit, the song opens in an almost post-rock direction with spectral guitar notes flickering like distant lights in heavy fog. It's completely out of leftfield and couldn't be further removed from any notions of fast food eating. It's akin to ordering a big mac and being presented with a sous vide armadillo in a balloon of celeriac foam.
Less shocking but also illustrative of Spielbergs' desire to push themselves is "Sleeper", a sweet, plaintive folk song with gently strummed acoustic guitar over swirling electric guitar notes. "4am" is yet another escapist, life-affirming indie anthem with a dynamic beating pop heart. With shades of R.E.M., it embodies the sheer enjoyment the band seem to be having from just plugging in and playing. The instrumental "SK" acts as something of a palette cleanser with billowing guitar loops and atmospheric electronics washing away what has come before to leave space for stunning album closer, "Forevermore".
On "Forevermore" deep, rumbling bass and blasts of wild guitars build to a planet-sized, euphoric post-hardcore chorus. It's a fittingly emotional send off to an album that clearly means the world to the people making it.
This Is Not the End was written by a band who have seen their hopes, dreams and spirit dissolve. As a result there is no weight of expectation or calculated sense of ambition. This is a joyfully optimistic set of musically candid, emotionally transparent, effervescent anthems in waiting. With this album, Spielbergs have shown that sometimes good things do come to those that wait.