Music

Spielbergs Show How Good Things Comes to Those Who Wait on 'This Is Not the End'

Photo courtesy of the artist

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
Spielbergs

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.

8

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Music

Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?

Music

Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.

Music

IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.

Music

Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.

Film

NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.

Books

David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.

Music

David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.

Music

Laraaji Takes a "Quiet Journey" (premiere +interview)

Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".

Music

Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.

Music

The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.