After calling their debut record Tell Me if You Like To “Chaotic, riddled with singalong choruses and, more than anything, energy.” and featuring their brilliant single ‘Who Are You?’ on Brightonsfinest , Vol. 2, it’s safe to say that we’re big fans of the Mancunian band here at Brightonsfinest. However, after a quiet 2017 we were a tad worried that the quartet might fade into obscurity like many of their contemporaries. Thankfully, they’re back with A Better Life and, if anything, it’s a huge statement of intent from the band and an improvement on the original.
Essentially keeping the same energy from Tell Me if You Life To but with an added steelier grit, it’s certainly a record that feels more complete than its predecessor. Whereas the first record was a dizzying array of breakneck paced indie songs, A Better Life, like every second record should, explores not only different tempos but different genres and styles. Most of this, too, comes from frontman Tarek Musa’s exceptional hand on production duties. Whether it’s a similar garage rock sound, a poppier number, or a more experimental track, each and every song on A Better Life sounds impeccable which, ultimately, makes Spring King stand out in an oversaturated market.
With ‘Animal’, ‘Ready for War’ and later on ‘The Hum’, the album kicks off the same way Tell Me If You Like To finished. Evoking the blues-heavy sound of the likes of The Black Keys and Queens of the Stone Age, this is the sound that people who have seen the band live with know. It’s an accelerated, yet melodic sound that is not only captivating and unforgettable, but a shot of euphoria straight to the heart; Spring King are like serotonin to the ears.
While the singles ‘The Hum’ and ‘Animal’ both offer up a darker side to their iconic petrol-head rock, there’s also a luminescence to A Better Life. One thing that can be said about Spring King, too, is that they heartily wear their influences on their sleeve and the likes of ‘Radioactive’, with its backing vocals of “Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye” evoking The Beach Boys’ summery outlook and ‘Have You Ever Looked Up Into the Sky’s blustering, lackadaisical vibe show a lovingly crafted, brighter side to the band that’s more in tune with their personality.
Likewise ‘Thunder’, the final song on the record, is an utter delight. With a lowkey vocal from Musa, along with a fifties style backing vocal from the rest of the band, it’s a restrained, quiet, and suppressed number that slowly and delicately escalates until it beautifully ends the album in a whimper. This is a side of Spring King we’ve rarely seen and it’s the perfect ending to a new phase for the band. Unlike Tell Me if You Like To, which featured six already released singles, A Better Life feels more like a complete project with an exact idea of what is wanted to accomplish which is what ‘Thunder’ encapsulates down to a tee.
Spring King never seemed to reach the heights that their contemporaries (The Big Moon, Blossoms etc) did, but this feels like it could be their moment. With two albums cluttered with everything from fiery bangers, slacker rock hits, and breezy summer anthems, as well as a huge Autumn tour coming up, Spring King are the real deal.