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Manchester post-punkers Spring King come out swinging on their debut full-lengthTell Me If You Like To, with a killer three punch combo of lead single City, Detroit and Who You Are that leaves your ears dancing on the ropes, anticipating the sweetest of all knockout blows to be delivered to any naysayers that haven’t subscribed to the hype surrounding the affable foursome.
Unfortunately for the precocious young Mancunians, despite the best efforts of this trio and standout tracks like Demons, Rectifier and closer Heaven, that ‘holy fuck’ moment never quite manifests itself, resulting in an album that is a few songs short of being a world beater. Which isn’t to say it’s Tell Me If You Like To is a bad debut record, in fact it’s a bloody damn good one that offers more than enough over its duration to satisfy the wants and desire of their rapidly burgeoning fanbase.
Holding the acclaim of being the first song Zane Lowe played on Beats 1 City is the kind of danceable post-punk party starter that some bands spend their entire careers trying to craft, with its impassioned vocals, angular guitars and simple yet soaring chorus hook making it a perfect fit for rock radio, while remaining raw enough to blast at an indie club night.
Drummer/lead singer/producer Tarek Musa’s howl leads the way on Detroit, another bouncy, club-friendly rocker with a distinctly British feel that is built around another simplistic but addictive chorus, before Who Are You takes a turn towards a slightly darker, grittier sound somewhat reminiscent of early Klaxons, before shaking you out of your comfort zone with an inspired saxophone solo, the inclusion of which is one of a number of moments in which you can see a budding art-rock maestro emerging in Musa.
Alongside the aforementioned Demons”, a more expansive, slower moving number that calls to the likes of the one time similarly hyped Hard-Fi (or even at a stretch The Clash), toe-tapping, live favourite waiting to happen, Rectifier and spacious Heaven these songs would have made for a near flawless EP.
The ‘problem’ Tell Me If You Like To lies in the ‘filler’ tracks, which despite the band’s best efforts all seem to blend together without ever really accomplishing anything, so while there’s nothing really wrong with them as such, there’s nothing really particularly interesting or all that different about them either, even when they stray from the formula on The Summer they somehow fail to differentiate themselves.
A large part of this could be due to the lyrics, as while every song is catchy and the vocal delivery is passionate, Spring King don’t seem to be a band with all that much to say, which for some people will be perfectly fine, but for those who prefer their \post-punk to sit closer to the punk edge of the lyrical spectrum, Tell Me If You Like To may come off as a little too nonchalant.
Luckily for Spring King, most people who will come across this record will be too busy singing and dancing along to really notice or perhaps care all that much what the band is saying, and that fact speaks to the strength of pop-nous they already possess at such a tender age. With an almost unprecedented level of hype, a string of sold-out headliners and prime festival slots all over the world, Tell Me If You Like To does exactly what it needs to, delivering enough potential hits to ensure that the momentum remains. ‘Well in, then lads, well in.’